Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Kroger Bringing Big New Store to Northside, Howell Mill Expansion in Doubt

The new Kroger at Lindbergh Place 
Kroger to anchor new center 

Ardent Commercial Realty and Fuqua Development plan to begin pre-construction work soon on their joint venture at Northside Drive & 17th Street near IKEA.  The new development, close to but not part of Atlantic Station, will be anchored by an approximately 82,000 square foot Kroger grocery store.  The Kroger will be similar in size and offerings to the recently opened Kroger at Lindbergh Place, another Fuqua project, near the corner of Piedmont Road and Morosgo Drive.  Among the "premium" amenities expected to be included in the new Kroger are a Starbucks, beer/wine bar, "ClickList" grocery ordering, The Little Clinic and assorted prepared and customizeable meal options.    

Avid readers of ToNeTo Atlanta will recall that earlier this summer I revealed Kroger's plans to expand their existing store at Howell Mill Square on Howell Mill Road.  With the Howell Mill store less than two miles from the planned store at Northside & 17th, sources indicate that Kroger may have indefinitely tabled their expansion plans for the older store.    

I contacted Glynn Jenkins, Public Relations Director for Kroger’s Atlanta Division, about the company's Northside and Howell Mill plans. In response to my inquiry as to the status of each project and whether both are still in the works, Jenkins responded by indicating "There is currently no timeline for the expansion of this project."  

This past June, Jenkins' response to the Howell Mill expansion was "There is no timeline for the expansion of this project, as we continue to work through scope of work and layout of the store. The proposed expansion will add 25,000 square feet making the store approximately 83,000 sf."     

The new verbiage seems to reflect a change in direction.  

While Kroger may not be expanding, Chin Chin, one of two restaurants slated to move to make way for the expansion, has moved.  The Chinese eatery reopened in their new space near Piccadilly, on the other side of the center, a few weeks ago. Mama Niki's Pizza, the other restaurant that would have been on the move, is still in place but reportedly has an existing lease that is due to expire mid next year. 

Overall, the Northside & 17th project encompasses about 12.5 acres with the Kroger and its accompanying 14 pump fuel center occupying a significant portion of the project.  The center is slated to also include a number of restaurants and retailers in adjoining and freestanding pads/outparcels.  Given the center's proximity to Georgia Tech, Atlantic Station and the Westside, there is surely to be healthy interest from quick serve restaurants and assorted service providers eager to tap into the growing market.   

Earlier plans to include residential units in the complex have reportedly been abandoned in favor of additional commercial development.    

Before the 2008 financial crisis, there was talk of both The Home Depot and Costco opening stores on the property, but those plans were abandoned years ago.  Another more recent plan was to relocate the current 100+ year old AMTRAK station from Deering Road and Peachtree Street to the property, but that too failed to materialize.    

Walmart Supercenter, which opened in late 2006, anchors the District at Howell Mill, a Selig project beside the existing Kroger store.  Walmart filed a permit with the city of Atlanta last month for renovations to its nearly 150,000 square foot store.  The permit, which indicates the retailer will spend $1,000,000 in renovations, doesn't indicate any revolutionary upgrades or changes.  Instead, it may be a competitive move by the retailer given the previously announced expansion of its neighboring Kroger and now the planned opening of a second large format Kroger nearby.   

Sources indicate that the new Kroger should debut in early 2018.     

What restaurants or retailers would you like to see open as part of the new Northside & 17th project?  Do you think the new Kroger will give the Publix in Atlantic Station a run for its money?  Do prefer large or small format grocery stores?

Please share your thoughts below. 


Jonathan said...

Oh wonderful. Gas pumps and another Mattress Firm on land that possesses arguably the most spectacular skyline view in all of West Midtown. How exciting.

vespajet said...

I could see the expansion at the Howell Mill location scaled back to be about the same size as the Kroger in Edgewood. One thing to note is that the recently opened Kroger on Glenwood is about 2 miles from the Edgewood location and the one further down Moreland.

Greenwave said...

ONCE AGAIN that asshat Fuqua has managed to ruin perfectly good land with a massive box store and gas pump. There are gas stations right down the street. Literally 3 within 1/2 mile. Even worse is that land will be all commercial instead of condos/apartments.

Ham said...

While I haven’t done an exhaustive survey of all the metro-Atlanta locations I do like the Publix locations near me much better than the Kroger. Again it could just be the local stores, but I find Kroger very cluttered and the customer service not at all on par with Publix.

ialex said...

Gross. I hate Fuquad.

AJ said...

Agree with Ham re: Publix vs Kroger. I'm a former AS resident and this news is a bit disappointing. There is a Publix in AS. There is the Kroger on Howell Mill. Such a waste of an opportunity. Even if this land was destined for grocery, how about Sprouts or Fresh Market or 365. Or better yet, how about a place like Pike Place or West Side Market (Cleveland). That'd be thinking outside the box. I know, I know - not Fuqua's speciality! As for Greenwave's comment, have to 100% disagree with you on condos/apartments. There are SOOOOOO many as it is. We don't need more. There are new ones by Swinging Richards, there are new ones on Huff, there are plenty in AS. We don't need more!

Anonymous said...

Agree regarding condos/apartments. Especially apartments. I just don't know how the infrastructure in the area is going to support what we already have.

Anonymous said...

Sorry you like the skyline so much, but if you have a better idea than a Kroger, raise capital and buy/develop the property yourself. Economic return drives investment decisions and allocation of capital.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to Kroger and Publix, I will take Publix. Less cluttered stores with employees who seem to care about helping you.

Anonymous said...

I recently spent some time up in DC metro area and they build large supermarkets into both high-rise and low-rise apartment buildings with underground parking. The end result makes far more sense for an urbanizing area. Why is something like that beyond Jeff Fuqua's capability? One would think a guy developing as long as he has been would be able to step slightly outside his comfort zone and do something a bit more creative and imaginative and farsighted. It's lamentable that Fuqua continually aims so low because he certainly has the ability to get things done. Fuqua won't be around forever, but his legacy will. I'm baffled as to why he doesn't seem to care about leaving a better legacy as a developer.

Anonymous said...

This is interesting. My mom and I went to opening day of the Lindbergh store. And since it was a big to-do, a few of the Kroger executives were roaming around the store. My mom saw Bruce Lucia and decided to share her concerns about the Howell Mill Kroger, where we always shop. She told him that it was dirty looking and outdated despite the fact the produce section was remodeled somewhat recently. He told her that plans to renovate the store were still on track and that they were going to open a new store on the outskirts of Atlantic Station. They would first build this new store, then they would close our Howell Mill store to start the renovation process.

Coolio said...

To all the people who say they don't know how the area would support more apartments/condos, you obviously have not taken a trip up north, NOR have you looked at futuristic movies. Density is the name of the game. The infrastructure will avail itself when the need arises. If you think that Atlanta is destined to stay the same size and scope of your mother's Atlanta, and her father's Atlanta, you will be dead and long gone before you see how this city will be forced to transform into the types we see up north today.

Wake up and move into the 21st century. If you want space and green acres, move to Kansas.