CRU Urban Lounge, the hookah bar and lounge near Ponce City Market which recently celebrated its three year anniversary, has changed hands. Previously operated by blogger and competitive eater Grace Lee, the restaurant was leased to new owners last month. The unidentified new owners plan to keep the same name, but have temporarily closed for unspecified renovations. The restaurant will reportedly reopen "in October."
Troubled teen retailer Aéropostale will live to die another day. The retailer, which began as a Macy's brand, has faced stiff competition from the likes of Forever 21 and Topshop, among others. After thirteen consecutive quarters of losses, Aéropostale filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 4th. A bankruptcy judge approved a reorganization plan earlier this week that allows the company to continue as a going concern. SIMON Property Group (SPG) and General Growth Properties (GGP) formed a joint venture with Gordon Brothers Retail Partners and Hilco Merchant Resources to buy the ailing clothing chain. (Given the number of recent retailer failures, this is an especially intriguing move and hints at the confidence the new owners have in a successful turnaround.) They won a bankruptcy auction on September 2 to buy the stores for $243.3 million. SPG and GGP are landlords of the retailer in many locations nationwide. As part of the plan, the retailer will continue liquidation sales at nearly 75% of its current approximately 800 stores. The retailer will reportedly keep 229 stores open, likely many if not all of which are in SPG and GGP managed properties. In Georgia, the retail operated about ten full line stores and about a dozen "Factory" stores. Aéropostale in Lenox Square, Cumberland Mall and Mall of Georgia are among the locations likely to remain open in metro Atlanta.
Jefe's Tacos & Tequila is slated to open this Friday September 16th at 5PM. The Mexican restaurant, from the owners of Kaleidescope on Dresden, replaces the former Noche at TOWN Brookhaven.
"Geek culture" retailer ThinkGeek will enter the metro Atlanta market with a new store slated to open September 23rd at Mall of Georgia in Buford. The 2,128 square foot store will be located on the mall’s lower level between Belk and the food court. A second ThinkGeek is planned for Oglethorpe Mall in Savannah. The 2,259 square foot space is located on the main mall level near Belk. Described as a "Sharper Image for sysadmins," ThinkGeek was launched in 1999, and after a brief bidding war last year was acquired by electronic gaming retailer GameStop for $140 million.
Hot Topic, the losing bidder for ThinkGeek, launched a similar retailer last year after failing to acquire the retailer. Launched this past October, BoxLunch already operates two locations in metro Atlanta. Locally, BoxLunch has locations in Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody and Town Center at Cobb in Kennesaw. The retailer gets is name from the store's policy which is that for every $10 spent, a meal is donated to a person in need.
Kroger reportedly plans to open its new Marketplace store in Cartersville on October 5th. The nearly 120,000 square foot Marketplace store will replace an older and far smaller "Greenhouse" Kroger nearby. In Atlanta, the new 82,000 square foot Kroger at Fuqua Development's Lindbergh Place is reportedly on track to open November 9th. The store, near Piedmont Road and Morosgo Drive, may serve as a replacement for the current 55,500 square foot "Disco" Kroger. The "Disco" Kroger, located about two miles away in the Piedmont Peachtree Crossing, is reportedly not guaranteed a space in the property should it get redeveloped as intended by its owner, Equity One. (Kroger is actually pictured in renderings of the redevelopment released by Equity One.)