Wednesday, June 7, 2017

[Report] North DeKalb Mall May Finally Bag Costco

A rendering of what the North DeKalb Costco may look like 
Costco Wholesale at North DeKalb Mall reportedly back on track. 

Local blog Decaturish reports that a "source" told them that Costco has officially "green lighted" a store at North DeKalb Mall, with plans to open in March 2020. The source reportedly said that timeline is subject to change, however.

While I have personally never been directly involved in commercial real estate, a timeline over two years out for a store that is rather modular, sounded a bit long to me. 

In an effort to clarify, I contacted another developer who spoke with me on condition of anonymity.  This developer, who has worked with Costco previously, indicated that the timeline does sound a big long, especially considering the fact that the North DeKalb Mall site does not [seem to] present any abnormal, or otherwise time consuming issues such as leveling or chemical remediation.  

The developer went on to say that they have known of Costco stores being built in as little as 120 days.  Additionally, the developer stressed that as a matter of policy, Costco does not "officially commit" to projects until they have every i dotted and t crossed.  That said, Costco may very well have "softly committed" to the project without having signed any agreements, as those will likely be delayed until after Costco receives all necessary zoning and permitting approvals from DeKalb county.  

Earlier this week, a ToNeTo Atlanta reader and resident of the North DeKalb Mall area indicated he had been told that the owners of North DeKalb Mall are "floating some plans with the city that they are not yet publicly sharing."  This may very well be Sterling Organization and Lennar Commercial (the mall's owner since late 2014) showing their latest "de-malling" plans to the county to move things along.  

"De-malling," the act of removing the enclosures of a mall to create a more open air environment, is one popular trend in under performing malls that is meant to attract both new tenants and new customers.  

If Costco does take over the former Macy's space, as I've previously reported, the rest of the mall, save Marshalls and AMC Theatres, are likely to be removed to create a more open air atmosphere like The Forum in Norcross.  

Last month, I reported that longtime North DeKalb Mall retailer Play it Again Sports would be relocating from the mall to North Decatur Plaza.  The used sporting goods retailer is the latest in a string of departures from the mall that also includes ROSS Dress For Less and Rack Room Shoes.  What makes the Play it Again move most significant is that they occupied a space directly beside the former Macy's space.  The move was viewed by many locals as an indication that the mall was moving to free up the spaces surrounding the former  department store in preparation for movement by Costco.  

Attending last month's ICSC RECon in Las Vegas, the largest shopping center-focused convention in the county, I visited the Sterling Organization booth to inquire as to an update for North DeKalb Mall and was told "there is no news to share at this time."  

As I'd done previously, I contacted Atlanta native and Costco Wholesale Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti for comment on the new store. Galanti was unavailable for comment and a real estate representative said she was unable to comment, citing the company's policy to only comment on "confirmed or under construction stores" (those listed on the company's website).  

The furthest out that the Costco website shows a store scheduled to open is a Business Center in San Francisco this coming August.  

When the Costco was proposed in 2008, there was also talk of a store in West Midtown and also in Brookhaven.  The West Midtown site, even if Costco was still interested, is no longer in play and is expected to open next year as a large-format Kroger.  The Brookhaven store, at TOWN Brookhaven, opened October 28th, 2010, preceded by one in Ringgold near the Georgia/Tennessee line, which opened the day before.  

In the years since, Costco opened a new store in Cumming in late August 2014.  Another Costco has been approved near The Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta in Woodstock.  Brantley Day of the City of Woodstock tells me Costco was issued their Land Disturbance Permit May 19th, and that as far as he knows, the company is on track to open Memorial Day: May 28th, 2018.

Given the tremendous support for the Costco store at North DeKalb Mall, I do not foresee any roadblocks for the store's construction and see the reported timeline as an effort to provide wiggle room.  Given that the Costco store at North DeKalb Mall has now been "in the works" for about a decade, the company is likely being extra cautious in their projected timeline.  Better to "under promise and over deliver" than vice versa.  Would anyone really be mad if Costco opened in June 2019, for instance, instead of March 2020? I think not.  

Are you excited for the prospect of having a Costco Wholesale finally open at North DeKalb Mall?  Are you a current Sam's Club member who will switch to Costco once they open? What other tenants would you like to see added to North DeKalb Mall?  

Please share your thoughts below  

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

It would be nice for something to happen at North DeKalb Mall. Not as excited about Costco as I once was since there is one at Brookhaven. Right now I just have a Sam's membership. I would not necessarily drop Sam's for Costco. Still miss the Macy's though. It was my favorite one. Have not been to North DeKalb since Macy's and Ross left.

Anonymous said...

it sounds like this is still highly speculative, as Costco is not confirming anything as of yet. The plus of costco over Sams, IMO, is that Costco is a classier, cleaner operation. Costco's food court is generally considered a little better, too.

N. Dekalb is a very quick drive from Toco, so I wonder if the N. Dekalb location would become the main Kosher Costco over Brookhaven..

Anonymous said...

March 2020 is over 2 1/2 years in the future. SMH

Anonymous said...

They are "floating some plans with the City"? What city? I believe that area is still unincorporated.

Brionna Richards said...

Burlington, Marshalls and AMC are the only reason anyone even visits still. I don't know what made TJX put Marshalls there especially since they have new Homegoods in new developments in Decatur and Tucker. Also, Burlington is opening a new store in Dekalb at the former Best Buy at Stonecrest. BTW, the North Dekalb Burlington former Uptons former Mervyn's location is the worst!

Anonymous said...

The best thing about North DeKalb Mall is the Community Garden in the flood plain that incorporates refugees into the local community with local residents in productive urban agriculture, while giving a sense of purpose and way to provide for their families. The utilization of an idle field is an example that real estate developers and Landlords should replicate as malls attempt to find creative ways to re-purpose their space and keep a role in the community around them.
Sterling Organization has the expertise to execute on the Costco deal, and add additional density that is deserving of such a prime piece of real estate. That density is needed to take on the costs to redevelop the massive infrastructure that comes along with enclose regional malls, and can be supported by the road networks serving the property. Timing may finally be right to execute this redevelopment plan that has been pursued for over a decade. Hopefully DeKalb County works with the mall, instead of against them, which seems to be the case most of the time!

Anonymous said...

I grew up going to North DeKalb Mall and it is depressing to see what it has turned into. With all the upscale building going on just up the road from the mall, I don't understand why the owners haven't tried to do the same. It's been such an ugly, desolate site or so long, I really don't believe anything will ever come of it. I miss the Macy's at North DeKalb. It was far better than the one at Northlake. Not sure why they didn't close that one instead.