Drawing of Walmart proposed for Decatur's Suburban Plaza (courtesy: Selig Enterprises)
Drawing or Walmart proposed for Decatur's Suburban Plaza Shopping Center (courtesy: Selig Enterprises)
DeKalb County's Suburban Plaza Shopping Center
DECATUR, Ga. -- First built 60 years ago, DeKalb County's Suburban Plaza Shopping Center has seen tougher times the past few years.
Now, the family that first developed and still owns it has the chance for a major facelift.
Selig Enterprises wants to put in a Walmart as a major anchor store.
It would mean a huge renovation and, to some who live in the area, a major pain.
They fear it will hurt smaller area businesses and swamp already crowded nearby roads.
"We can barely get out of this island; it has to be Church Street or Scott Boulevard, for most of us anyway," said neighbor Doris Williams.
It's an even bigger concern for neighbor Nikki Veysoglu, whose daughter has to make frequent trips to nearby hospitals, often in an ambulance.
"Just a couple weeks ago, trying to get her to the hospital took us 7.5 minutes to make a left turn on North Decatur Road to go to Emory."
"The feelings and the concerns of the neighborhoods are all valid," Selig Enterprises Vice-President Scott Selig told 11Alive News.
His company and Walmart representatives have met with local neighborhood groups and say they are sensitive to their worries.
He admits the 30,000 square foot addition will mean more traffic, but he also says it will create about 600 permanent jobs and bring about $2.2 million to DeKalb County's tax base.
"This development will be an asset to the community; it will be one that's used," Selig said. "It will provide jobs; it will provide the economic boost to the immediate area and to the county that's much needed today."
He said opportunities like this don't come every day in this economy and he's competing with plenty of other communities around the country that would love to have such a project.
The next step for the Suburban Plaza redevelopment project comes next Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 1 p.m., when DeKalb's Zoning Appeals Board will consider a parking variance request.