Friday, March 3, 2017

Georgia Department of Labor Receives Pink Slip From Edens at Toco Hills

Toco Hills changes continue

The Georgia Department of Labor has confirmed it will be leaving its current home in Toco Hills shopping center later this month.  A sign posted to the center's front door indicates that it will close at the end of business on March 16th and reopen in their "temporary facility" in Decatur.    The DOL's move to Decatur will pair it with the DeKalb Workforce Development office.  Both departments will share space at 744 Jordan Lane, Building 4, just off DeKalb Industrial Way.  The old and new DOL offices are about 3.5 miles apart. 

According to its website, the Georgia DOL operates 44 offices.  The Toco Hills office is known as the "North Metro" location and is meant to service DeKalb, Fulton and Rockdale counties.  The "Metro South" office on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, just off I-20, is meant to serve Fulton and Douglas counties.  Given these designated service areas, it's likely the new permanent "North Metro" location would be near one of its service areas, but its unclear where or when that move will happen.   

Edens, the Columbia, SC based developer that signed a 35 year ground lease on the center in 2015, is in the midst of a multi-million dollar renovation of the center that it hopes will attract new tenants.  At the same time, the developer is not offering lease renewals to a number of longstanding tenants.  These moves have led to a number of closures, with more likely. 

As I previously reported, The Nearly New Shop, a service of the Junior League of Atlanta, is also closing at Toco Hills. According to JLA president Deanna Anderson, the decision to close the store was not due to the center's change in direction, but was instead due to the store no longer being a "sustainable fundraising model."  The store is currently offering at least 50% off all merchandise with plans to close for good April 30th.   Toco Hills Coin Laundry will also be closing at the center

The Shoe Center was the first to close at Toco Hills after the Edens purchase.  The popular footwear retailer operated out of Toco Hills for 14 years before closing last summer. Famous Pub, which opened at Toco Hills in 1986, closed this past December.  In January, I confirmed that Hudson Grille had leased the former Famous Pub space with plans to open later this fall.   Petite Auberge, a Toco Hills mainstay since 1974, closed at Toco Hills at the end of last year, and "merged" with Violette on Clairmont Road.  Young Chefs Academy, a popular children's cooking class franchise, "moved" its popular Toco Hills location to Buckhead's Howell Mill Village.  According to the business' facebook page which strangely refers to the location as "Atlanta Midtown," the new Young Chefs Academy is slated to celebrate its Grand Opening tomorrow, Saturday, March 4th.

The current DOL occupies a prized 20,000 square foot junior anchor space in the historic intown center.  The space was originally a Colonial Stores grocery and later a Big Star, another grocer.  Ace Hardware later occupied the space before downsizing and relocating to its current location near Publix in the 90s.   

Given the  presence of Publix Super Markets and Kroger  to the left and right of the DOL space, another grocer is highly unlikely.  

Edens has reportedly floated a number of ideas to fill the space with but a HomeGoods type store makes the most sense to me. 

What would you like to see open in place of the Department of Labor space at Toco Hills?  Do you like the changes Edens is making at Toco Hills?  What one restaurant or retailer would you like to see open in Toco Hills?

Bonus question: Do you call the center Toco Hills or Toco Hill?

Please share your thoughts below  

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Toco Hills plural

ANYTHING but the unemployment office is FINE! However, I am still having withdrawals from Shoe Center, sob! And I miss Famous. :( I'm not sure I will be able to afford anything that can afford the new rents over there, though. :(

Hal said...

Before the neighborhood had a name, developer Clyde Shepherd built the shopping center with a sign "Toco Hill".

Medlock Neighbor said...

Why, it's Toco Hills, of course. Hard to say what I'd like to see there because the parking lot gridlock discourages me from going there much these days. Definitely not a big box store though. Pottery Barn-ish, mid-range clothing stores... would keep me from heading outside of the county. Just pulleeese don't kick Toco Giant out!

Anonymous said...

That shoe store had terrible prices. Petite Auberge had been going downhill for 20 years, whether they admitted it or not. Famous Pub did nothing but fill the streets with drunken Emoroids every weekend. The unemployment office and coin laundry are both high-traffic, low-revenue tenants who would fit in better in another part of town. All single family homes and apartment blocks around here have laundry facilities, and the vast majority of us have jobs.

I look forward to seeing who fills these open slots in the Toco Hill roster. Hopefully it will be something a bit nicer than having an unemployment office right next to the liquor store and coin laundry. That always looked ghetto, to me.

Anonymous said...

Th locals say Toco Hills, even though th sign says Toco Hill. Don't ask me why.

Anonymous said...

NIMBY

Coolio said...

Well the obvious question is... exactly how many hills does Toco have?

Anonymous said...

Hill, singular.

Unknown said...

@Coolio
Since I have nothing better to do - I went ahead and used google to look up the origin of the name:
http://www.ajc.com/news/actual-factual-georgia-mystery-toco-hills-name-revealed/57MK2krYLyNS4fJZ5EwmSP/

Toco means "have better luck than you think you'll have" and the hill references a hill that once stood at the site before development.

Anonymous said...

It is and always has been Toco Hill. Y'all carpetbaggers don't know any better, bless your hearts.

Anonymous said...

"Hill" or "Hills", the big question is 'What is a Toco'?

Toco: (English/Oxford) the largest and most familiar South American toucan, with mainly black plumage, a white throat and breast, and a massive black-tipped orange bill.

Toco: (urban dictionary) This Only Comes Once

Toco: (Medical dictionary) prefix meaning "childbirth or labor"


Anonymous said...

Can we get an activity to do with kids? Indoor mini golf?

Unknown said...

Seems like the new landlord is being greedy and making the long time tenants unable to afford to rent anymore. GREED to bring in higher paying tenants. Don't worry it won't work and he'll later regret getting rid of good people who kept the shopping center going when it wasn't very full.

AJ said...

One can be angry about the Shoe Store, Petite Auberage, or Famous. But the DOL should have been long gone. It's irresponsible for the state to be spending rent in a Class A (or whatever it's referred to) shopping center. There are many cheaper places. And honestly, the DOL really should be on a MARTA train line anyways. As for the laundromat, same thing - there are lower end shopping centers it should be in.

Anonymous said...

Toco stood for "top of the county".

Anonymous said...

Everyone says Toco Hills and Virigina Highlands, but they're actually both singular.

Imandy said...

Ross announced yesterday they're opening 90 stores in 2017 this could be the saving grace y'all are looking for����

Anonymous said...

Based on some these comments, Edens is reading its target demographic correctly- keep out the poor people without washing machines, and (cough) the non-whites. Unless you meant something less racist with that ghetto comment.

Anonymous said...

"And honestly, the DOL really should be on a MARTA train line anyways. As for the laundromat, same thing - there are lower end shopping centers it should be in."

Only Hobby Lobby makes you feel dirty?

ImAndy said...

The DeKalb COO walked on an agenda item today at the Commission Meeting for a lease agreement for the State DOL to permanently co-locate at the 774 Jordan Way Worksource DeKalb office. This will go to the full commission for a vote next Tuesday.

The state will lease 5800 square feet from the County which will comply with new federal law for "one-stop" employment centers.