Sunday, February 18, 2018

Bits & Bites

The District Two Community Council met this past Tuesday evening to discuss Jay Gipson's planned redevelopment at the corner of Clairmont and Briarcliff Roads.  The meeting was packed with residents, many of whom voiced their objections to the development but few of whom offered viable solutions other than to do nothing.  The development, as proposed, would include the construction of a new RaceTrac fuel station and convenience store, Wendy's restaurant with drive-thru, and  a rebuilt Express Oil Change & Tune-Up Clinic.  Most attendees seemed to voice strongest objections to the RaceTrac saying "we don't need another gas station."  The council approved a rezoning request that would change the property from C-2 to C-1.  The council, however, deferred the SLUP (Special Land Use Permit) requests that would have permitted the fuel pumps, drive-thru and alcohol sales.  
A new poke eatery called "The Poke Spot" is coming to downtown Atlanta.  The restaurant, planned for 200 Peachtree (180 Peachtree) will open alongside Meehan's in a portion of the old Davison's/Macy's building on Peachtree Street.  

BunMi Vietnamese Grill is coming to 2277 Peachtree Road Suite H.  The new Vietnamese eatery will occupy the one-time home of  H&F Bread Co. 

Sun & Ski Sports is closing their store at Sugarloaf Mills in Lawrenceville.  The store, which is the Houston, Texas-based retailer's only location in Georgia, was one of the outlet center's original tenants.  The Sugarloaf Mills location is currently offering 60% all in-stock merchandise.  

Starbucks plans to open a new location on Bells Ferry Road in Kennesaw.  The approximately 2,200 square foot coffee shop will also feature a drive-thru.  The new Starbucks will open in place of the former Vape Manor at 4241 Bells Ferry Road, near the entrance ramp to 575 south.  

Won Won Seafood Kitchen has opened in place of Golden House on Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth.  

Adjacent to Won Won, another new seafood restaurant, "Rockin Crab Seafood Kitchen," is coming soon to the former Joe's Crab Shack.  

The former Sonic restaurant at 11105 Crabapple Road in Roswell is being converted into a pharmacy.  "Crabapple Pharmacy" is expected to open later this year and will feature a drive-thru.  Sonic closed its restaurant in late 2016 but surprisingly, it's still listed on the Sonic website as "temporarily closed."  

Tomatillo's announced earlier this week via Facebook that it will close its East Atlanta Village restaurant March 11 after about seven years in business.  Corrina Martinez, former owner/operator of Castleberry Hill's Blu Cantina, will reopen in the onetime Wachovia Bank building on Glenwood Avenue on April 1.

Sharetea, offering assorted bubble teas, opened earlier this month in Hammond Springs shopping center at the corner of Hammond Drive and Roswell Road in Sandy Springs.  ToNeTo Atlanta first reported on the planned opening this past November.    

Sweet Tuna is now open in Perimeter Place.  The new poke eatery which ToNeTo Atlanta first reported on in July, opened in place of the former daVia Italian fast & fresh.

First Watch, the popular breakfast, brunch and lunch restaurant with eight locations in the Atlanta area, will open its newest restaurant in Buford on Monday, February 19. The new 3,500-square-foot eatery will open at 7 a.m. at 3687 Buford Drive, just north of Mall of Georgia, near Honda Mall of Georgia.  The Buford restaurant joins other recently opened First Watch locations in metro Atlanta including those in Decatur and Chamblee.  

Chicken Salad Chick plans to open its new Vinings location on Wednesday, March 7 at The Station at Vinings, on Paces Ferry Road.  

Poke City opened Wednesday on Peachtree Road in south Buckhead. The new poke eatery opened in the former Firehouse Subs, and is the third overall location for Poke City.  The local chain operates others on Medlock Bridge in Johns Creek and on Monroe Drive in Midtown. 

A new Popeyes restaurant is planned for 3248 Highway 278 in Covington.  The Sandy Springs-based chicken chain plans to construct a nearly 2,700 square foot restaurant on the nearly one acre, presently vacant, parcel.  

Bojangles' plans to open a new restaurant in Macon on Riverside Drive near Lee Road.  The approximately 3,800 square foot restaurant would rise on vacant land at 2772 Riverside Drive.  The new Macon Bojangles', unlike the upcoming Chamblee location, is expected to sport the company's latest restaurant design.  

Bojangles' also plans to open a new restaurant in Dawsonville, just north of the North Georgia Premium Outlets.  The new Bojangles, which like the Macon location, will sport elements of the brand's new design, will be a bit smaller, at just under 3,000 square feet.  Bojangles' will open near the intersection of South 400 Center Lane and Dawson City Industrial Park Road, alongside Captain D's and near Northside Hospital's Dawson Medical Campus.  

Buffalo Wild Wings is joining the recently opened Publix- anchored Dawson Crossroads shopping center with a new restaurant in Dawsonville.  The freestanding out-parcel Buffalo Wild Wings will open between Chili's and Freddy's and will be about 4,800 square feet with a nearly 1,200 square foot adjacent retail space leased to another business.  The restaurant will also feature a patio.  When it opens later this year, the new restaurant will be one of the first to open as part of Inspire Brands, the umbrella company created earlier this month following Arby's completion of their purchase of Buffalo Wild Wings and R Taco.  

Woodstock Mattress Outlet is now open on Piedmont Road in Buckhead in place of the former Wolf Camera.  ToNeTo Atlanta first reported plans for the mattress retailer in January.   


Unknown said...

Not 100% accurate. Most of the discussion was around mitigating the potential traffic issues that the proposed development would potentially bring, not that we don't need another gas station. The neighborhood did request that the developer not allow left turns out of the development, which would have alleviated some of the traffic concerns. Other suggestions were to use the space for green spaces or a medical office that would potentially have less transient traffic. Jay Gipson was not interested in entertaining any of these ideas.

Unknown said...

Not 100% accurate. Most of the discussion was around mitigating the potential traffic issues that the proposed development would potentially bring, not that we don't need another gas station. The neighborhood did request that the developer not allow left turns out of the development, which would have alleviated some of the traffic concerns. Other suggestions were to use the space for green spaces or a medical office that would potentially have less transient traffic. Jay Gipson was not interested in entertaining any of these ideas.

bowden21 said...

Why would Jay want to consider green space? That is not profitable for him. A MOB would not be as profitable either, nor desirable for potential tenants. Not the right place for a MOB.

I leave in the area and agree that I would like to see something different, but it sounds like those are viable options for the space.

Anonymous said...

A couple of points: it's not up to the neighborhood to try to solve the developer's design problem. It's not their fault that he's overpaying for a piece of property that won't support the scale of development that he is planning without adding to a massive traffic problem. Even Jay Gipson admitted he has not been to the property during rush hour -- that he "only goes there between 9 and 3" due to the existing traffic problems. You were at the first meeting, where the developer said a traffic study had been done and that he would provide a copy. Well, he never provided one, because one hasn't been done.

Second point -- and this is the one that should be news -- one man brought pictures of the car repair shop's violations that were written up by code enforcement (25 violations in all) -- and were dismissed by a judge because the land was about to be rezoned. Talk about doing nothing!

No one in that room was anti-development. They were pointing out the issues with this particular mix of businesses. You don't need to attract MORE traffic from the freeway to add to the almost 50k vehicles per day that already travel that stretch of road (and that's not counting the 14k vpd that CHOA is about to dump into the area). You also don't need people trying to turn left across Clairmont during rush hour...or cars pulling in and out of Wendy's or Racetrac during rush hour. Somebody's going to get killed.

Oh, and there's the little nugget about the Racetrac being too close to a school to legally sell beer & wine.

But, people didn't stand up and shout "We want Trader Joe's instead," so I guess none of that matters.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness a reasonable judge threw out all of the Code Compliance violations that were reported in the first place for political reasons. Not saying he doesn't need to clean his stuff up but to be reported simply because some troll is unhappy is not right

Anonymous said...

Good luck dealing with the Gipson family.

Anonymous said...

No Change!
That describes that area perfectly.

A new Sembler development to replace the atrocious monstrosity f/k/a Briarcliff High that has become a graffiti canvas and vagrant shelter?
No Change!

A new city so that the local government can control things instead of the DeKalb clowns in Decatur that they always complain about?
No Change!

A brand new state of the art high school to replace Briarcliff?
No Change!

A brand new children's hospital run by one of the best children's hospitals in the nation to replace a hotel that has been closed for decades and some crummy office buildings?
No Change!

The locals complain, protest and oppose every proposed redevelopment in the area. "woe is me - the traffic is so horrible!" "Why don't you build a park on that $6 million piece of dirt you just bought?"

Well, your chance at parks was thrown away when you voted down cityhood. Hope you enjoy your car repair and car wash. That parcel is worthless without a left turn out. What do you expect people trying to get back to 85 to do? Turn right on Clairmont and then turn left on Briarcliff then cut through Williamsburg SC to get back to 85? Because that is exactly what will happen and that isn't going to help the traffic any.

Anonymous said...

And that's why you don't put a Racetrac and a Wendy's on that block. You don't want to attract MORE traffic to a short stretch of road that's already overburdened and about to become even more so. Clairmont Road isn't Lawrenceville Highway, which is where a development with a Racetrac and a Wendy's belong. Can't they have anything nice over there instead of more roller meat, a frozen yogurt bar, 10 more gas pumps and a set of dirty Racetrac bathrooms?

Unknown said...

I don't have a problem with the gas station. It's easier to get gas before turning right onto Briarcliff than trying to deal with making a left out of the QT.

I just wish it was a Cookout instead since we already have a Wendys in Toco.

It seems an extra traffic signal could easily solve the traffic concerns/left turns onto Clairmont.

And finally - please stop referencing that shady as hell attempt to force a city in the area. There were so many things wrong and corrupt with how that was being managed that all the green spaces in the world wouldn't have made up for the special interests from those supporting the cityhood.

Anonymous said...

Whew - good thing you voted down those shady city mongers and elected to stay with the honest and brilliant DeKalb County who is always looking out for your best interest! The only "parks" you'll see are like the one at Clairmont and LaVista - a littered triangle surrounded by busy roads.

They likely cannot install another traffic light there because it is too close to the one at Biarcliff and Clairmont. It's not a great parcel of land - the only value is to folks on I-85 looking to grab a bite to eat, some gas, or somewhere to diagnose "that weird sound" their car is making! Hence the offered businesses. If locals want anything other than a broken down car wash and car repair, they need to grasp that idea.

Anonymous said...

Local control would help here. Nothing "shady" about that.

Anonymous said...

There was nothing shady about the pro-cityhood movement, which had many local school alumni involved.

The anti self rule movement lacked such involvement, and was predicated on absurd fearmongering (eg. nefarious companies from outside the city that would be involved in various operations!!!--just like they're currently doing in Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Chamblee, etc.)

I think it's still a good area overall, but there is no one local that can make decisions for the community like exists in Chamblee, Dunwoody, or Sandy Springs.

Anonymous said...

It's not a great parcel of land and the developer is under contract to pay way, way too much for it. That's why he needs businesses on the scale of Wendy's and Racetrac to make his nut. Both are inappropriate for a small intersection with such high volume traffic. Everyone would be better off if this plan fell through and they stepped back to look at what's really sensible development. Lord knows, this proposal is anything but sensible.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and by the way, that "littered triangle" at Clairmont and LaVista is not a creation of DeKalb County. It was a grassroots effort by the community.

A little area history: The "Pinellas Triangle" was once covered by hardwood forest. Back in the early to mid-1990s, the owner tried to get DeKalb County to rezone it as "commercial" property. Word was he wanted to build a convenience store there. (Again, a totally inappropriate spot for such a business.) DeKalb County denied the request. Not long after, all of the big, beautiful hardwood trees were mysteriously girdled. They were doomed to die. DeKalb County ordered the trees cut down because they were a safety hazard.

Several neighbors started an effort to buy Pinellas Triangle in order to restore it. They formed a non-profit called PARC (Pinellas Area Restoration Committee). They raised money from individuals in the surrounding neighborhoods, were given a large gift by the estate of W. Carey Hansard (a neighbor for whom the park is named), and took out a loan to buy the land. Trees Atlanta and the Gables apartments company donated the trees and other plantings. That park is now 22 years old. Mowing and maintenance is done by PARC volunteers

W. Carey Hansard park was a true community effort. Next time you're in the area, please help out. Pick up a piece of litter and put it where it belongs. And say thanks to the neighbors. That triangle could have become a 7-Eleven.

Anonymous said...

The RaceTrac will bring traffic but does anyone really think Wendy's will? It will be empty except for lunch time...

Unknown said...

What I wouldn't give with for a 7-Eleven near our neighborhood.

I agree with the other poster that the cityhood thing seemed like a rushed scramble toward the end with sponsorship outside the district and 'fund raising' dinners sponsored by potential contractors. I'm not surprised it failed the ethics test at the end.

Anonymous said...

22 years later and still not a single sidewalk anywhere around it

Anonymous said...

I just drove by the park last weekend and I know the history well as a friend of mine grew up right next to it. The weeds were overgrown and there was a lot of trash scattered in the "park." Despite a gorgeous afternoon, there were no humans at the park and I doubt there ever are. Still, it's sad that the community has to pony up to establish greenspace because DeKalb County doesn't.

Maybe the neighbors around Clairmont and Briarcliff can start their own grassroots campaign and buy the subject property to develop another park. Then they won't have to complain about what goes in there.

I'm still trying to figure out what an "appropriate" use for that parcel would be. Who can help suggest?

Unknown said...

It would be great if they put a Blockbuster, a Record Store & Radio Shack....Oh wait.

Really what the area is lacking is a brewery, however that is not the spot for it.

I wouldn't imagine a sit down restaurant would kill traffic. A Mexican place to replace El Torero without having to fight the traffic to Toco Hill.

Anonymous said...

A nice sitdown breakfast/brunch/lunch place would be nice. Something along the lines of Another Broken Egg or First Watch that's done serving for the day before the afternoon rush hour gets going and clogs Clairmont.

A nice sitdown restaurant that does the bulk of its business at the tail end of or after the PM rush wouldn't contribute to the parking lot that Clairmont is becoming.

Heck, a couple of rows of nice townhomes or live/work units would look better and add less traffic than a 5th multi-pump gas station and a fast food drive-through place that will look tired and old in three years. The fuel pumps at the gas stations already there are never backed up, so it's not like there's a shortage of service there.

Anonymous said...

First Watch would take about 3,500 SF, but you still have three times that square footage to fill up. Not sure that they or any other full service restaurant would be interested in that location though. The surrounding area is pretty run down.

Anonymous said...

Express Lube is in the area to stay. First Watch would take the same space as the Wendy's, without the negative traffic impact of a cheesy drive trough. Just need something to replace the hideous Racetrac. (Who needs another gas station around there? There already are 4 a short distance apart.) Surrounding commercial is rundown due to bad owners who don't want to invest... and never have. They're waiting for the right price to sell. Surrounding neighborhoods are really, really nice with good schools. Good-sized homes due for renovation and on big lots start at $350k. New homes run into the $2.5M range. Lots & lots of untapped income in the immediate area. Much house flipping and new construction going on. And talk about a great location for getting just about anywhere you want to go.... I say hold out folks, you can have better.

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