Tuesday, January 24, 2023

[UPDATE] Walmart to Reopen but Downsize Vine City Store, Permanently Close on Howell Mill

The Walmart store at The District at Howell Mill is now permanently closed, according to a release from the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer.  Walmart opened its 150,000 square foot store at the roughly 16 acre project in 2006 and served as its anchor alongside junior anchors including TJ Maxx, Office Depot, ULTA, and HomeGoods, among others.  Atlanta-based Selig Enterprises developed the center but in 2007 sold the majority of their interest in it.  
The Walmart had been "temporarily closed" since late this past December due to what was described a small fire in the men's underwear section.  The fire was reportedly isolated to the one department and was extinguished by employees before the fire department arrived on site.  Despite the limited damage, the company has seemingly in short order opted to shutter the store, leaving many to question whether it was something the retailer was already considering. 

A little more than five miles away, another Walmart on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive also suffered damage from a reportedly intentionally set fire in December.  Here, however, where community leaders feared the retailer would shutter the store, the company has decided to reopen the store, but under its smaller format "Neighborhood Market" banner which is primarily a grocery store.  The current Walmart, which opened in 2013, replaced a Publix which has previously shuttered on the site.  The Walmart is currently 73,000 square feet whereas a typical Neighborhood Market is 35,000 to 45,000 square feet.  It's likely that Walmart will erect a demising wall and look to backfill its excess space to another business or service.  

The company indicated that renovation plans are already underway but did not provide a reopening timetable.  

On Howell Mill, where "Walmart does not have the ability to repurpose the Howell Mill Road location due to site restrictions," the company plans to work with "Mayor Dickens and his office to find a new use or business for the site."   

There are not many 150,000 square foot businesses expanding these days and the fact that the Walmart lacks street visibility given its nearly subterranean location suggests that potential replacements will be few and far between.  Home Depot and Costco were both to have previously opened stores at 17th and Northside, but the development they were to be part of fell apart more than decade ago, and even a subsequently planned Kroger on the site is no longer moving forward.  

Are you surprised to see Walmart permanently close their Howell Mill Road store?  What would you like to see open in the now former Walmart space?  Are you thrilled to see Walmart keeping their Vine City store open?

Please share your thoughts below.  

17 comments:

Alex said...

That's an awfully designed shopping center.

Anonymous said...

There was more damage there than a pack of underwear on fire for a few seconds put out with a fire extinguisher. There was significant smoke damage, and the sprinklers went off, so there was also water damage.

Anonymous said...

The Walmart could be split into different spaces, I’d like to see a b&n but that’s unlikely due to the proximity to buckhead. And there’s no big box retailers that don’t already have a store in the area. Maybe put storage units there so that might stop a few companies from building separate storage structures aka an eyesore. It being in the parking deck will hide that eyesore lol. But the lane Bryant space is still vacant, that’s about the size of a five below or popshelf I’d love to see it.

Anonymous said...

I would say that I'm surprised that they're abandoning the Howell Mill store but then I remember that Walmart is known for abandoning stores all over the country to build larger ones nearby, and they usually sit empty for years because spaces that large are hard to fill. Best of luck to that shopping center.

Anonymous said...

Kroger is the only thing I could see going in there. Publix has AS, Howell Mill & Collier, and soon Interlock. Target is in AS. Kroger could look to move from its location in the adjacent plaza. Too small for Costco Lowes, or HD. Got a feeling that this gets sub-parceled or sits empty for a long time.

Anonymous said...

ghetto shoplifters set these fires, as a decoy….while they loot the place! This must end!

Anonymous said...

• Dave & Busters
• Burlington
• Primark

Jay Damoli said...

They need armed guards at these stores that are willing to shoot to kill. These damn thieves have no fear of being caught let alone prosecuted. Now they're burning down stores to steal a TV? Ghetto values...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 1:01 nailed it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last few comments. Crime is a big problem in the Atlanta area. The elected leaders are to blame for not enforcing the laws. Residence in the area are to blame for the elected leaders. Therefore residents don't deserve businesses like Walmart. You may hate it but Walmart wants to make a profit. They can no longer do charity work by staying in a community filled with crime. They must also provide a safe work environment for the employees. Underwear on fire is a problem. It's been a good run but bye bye Walmart. More business with leave ATL. Atlanta will be the new Chicago of the south. So glad I moved. Vine City Walmart will open and then in a few years it will close. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

a joanns would be good in the howell mill location

Anonymous said...

LA FITNESS would be great there

BK said...

It'll be near impossible to backfill that Walmart at Howell Mill. Its underneath the parking / rest of the shopping center, with little visibility or access. I'd even have a hard time seeing a self storage place backfilling this since there's so little access around it for loading zones.

Anonymous said...

We’re so glad you moved too. Bye Felicia!

Anonymous said...

They’ll backfill it. Other retailers are successful in those types of settings. Two Atlanta Targets are set up like that.

Anonymous said...

Guards yes. Killing a shoplifter? No. If that is the benchmark then what do you do to a murderer? Kill their entire family?

Anonymous said...

Atlanta crime is getting really bad! The laws need to be enforced and new laws need to be made. Punishment must be longer and harder. Minors and parents need to be held accountable. Parents need to pay for all and open for being sued. Period. Crime is colorblind and so should the punishment.

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