This story has been updated.
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Greater Decatur, Georgia — North DeKalb Mall is once again in the eye for a massive redevelopment project, but the developer – Edens – has played things close to the vest, choosing to share little with the press and holding closed-door meetings with the community.
But records provided to Decaturish show Edens plans to balance its residential and commercial projects with green spaces, pathways and other public amenities. Whether they satisfy neighborhood concerns about the scale of the project is another matter.
The plan, which is still preliminary and has not been widely publicized, also shows nearly 50,000 square feet allocated for a grocery store, but does not name the store. The plan appears to include keeping the AMC theater and Marshall’s retail store. It is important to note that the site plan obtained by Decaturish could change before it is officially presented to the public.
To view the PDF of the preliminary site plan, click here.
Theresa Same, zoning chair for the Medlock Area Neighborhood Association, is one of the few members of the public outside the county to have seen the preliminary plans. On February 8, she said she wouldn’t comment for now because she wanted to give the public a chance to see it and share her thoughts on it.
Edens will hold its first public community meeting on February 22 at 7 p.m. via Zoom.
Decaturish received a Zoom link to a meeting Edens held a few weeks ago with some community members, but was asked to leave the meeting as the press had not been invited. Edens, who also owns the Toco Hills Shopping Center on North Druid Hills Road, has so far declined to speak to the press. The first public preview of the project was a filing for the development to be considered a Regional Impact Development by the Atlanta Regional Commission.
The preliminary site plan provided in response to a request for documents resembles the one presented at the meeting Decaturish was asked to leave. The Request for Records also produced a summary of early community feedback on the plan.
Edens’ proposal is more ambitious than the failed proposal that preceded it. The developer wants to create a mixed-use development with shops, a hotel, apartments and townhouses. Plans call for 300,000 square feet of retail space, 200,000 square feet of office space, a 150-room hotel, 1,700 apartments and 100 townhouses. The estimated completion date of the project is 2028.
For comparison, a plan in 2018 that failed proposed 425 apartments and 40 to 50 townhouses.
Edens offers green spaces and paths for shared use within the project. One of the slides shows the overall project connectivity plan. The developer plans to realign Mistletoe Road and entrance buildings.
Perkins and Will, a design firm hired by the County Commission for $20,000, listed several proposed revisions to the site plan based on early community feedback. Commissioner Jeff Rader said the company was advising the county, not Edens. Suggestions for the plan include expanding shared use lanes and adding bus shelters. Concerns include the lack of integration of the Mysterious Way townhouse parcel into the general master plan and the Birch Road trail alignment.
There may also be an affordable housing component to the project. Perkins and Will’s memo says one of the “next steps” is: “To take next steps on providing affordable housing as part of the master plan.”
To see Perkins and Will’s memo, click here.
Here are additional slides from the presentation provided by DeKalb County in response to our request for recording:
Correction: An earlier version of this story provided incorrect information about who hired Perkins and Will. This story has been updated with the correct information.
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