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Visions For Vacancies: Chamblee Plaza

What kinds of businesses are needed to renovate this once-vibrant commercial center?


I don't know about you, but I remember when Chamblee Plaza was a happenin' place.

My first job was at a Revco pharmacy, next door to Woolworth's. I spent many a lunch hour at Woolworth's counter, enjoying delicious burgers and ice-cold Cokes.

And granted, some of Chamblee Plaza is still vibrant. A new IHOP recently opened next to the Chick-fil-A. But by and large, virtually all of the big-box retail space in Chamblee Plaza is vacant and unattended.

So our question to you is: what kind of businesses would return Chamblee Plaza to its former glory? Maybe an indoor batting cage, or an indoor shooting range? Or some medical and dental offices? You tell us ...

marsha middleton May 20, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Party city, rite aid, gourmet cake or cupcake shpp, nail/tanning salon, cute but independent restaurant that serves ethnic cuisine (indian, thai, etc), frozen yogurt shop, dry cleaners. There you go! My bucket list for the plaza.
Van Pappas May 20, 2012 at 11:56 AM
That's funny. My first job was at that same Revco, back in the 80's. I was more partial to going across the street to the Subway.
Paula May 20, 2012 at 12:40 PM
I certainly do remember when Chamblee Plaza was a vibrant shopping center. I, too, spend many times at the Woolworth counter!! The grocery store, was it a Colonial? Such good memories - it's sad to see the state that it is in now. I hate tha the China Inn is now gone. It's going to take a lot of work in terms of renovation to draw tenants and it doesn't seem the current owners of the Plaza are interested in such a move. But, I agree a Party City, bakery, etc., are good ideas.
R May 20, 2012 at 12:52 PM
It was Big Star.
Max May 20, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Many places in Georgia completed Livable Community Initiative (LCI) studies, undert he direction of the Atlanta Regional Commission, during the last decade. In fact, Chamblee made significant changes to their building codes and design requirements. These ideas are costly to implement and may have good sense during a hot commercial real estate market. The concept of 'New Urbanism," would remake the center whereby storefronts are closer to Peachtree Road. Now the center sits nearly vacant as the economics of such a redevelopment is more difficult to justify. Variances may provide owners a respite time needed for prior to redevelopment. Owners want to lease property, but can only do so under the constraints of current zoning laws. That poor Zaxby's has got to be the longest development lead time in the history of the franchise, due to zoning changes. Something has to give.
cmrc May 20, 2012 at 01:02 PM
It may have previously been another brand, but the grocery store in Chamblee Plaza was Winn Dixie, at leat for it's last 10 years. I still miss Athens Pizza and those older waitresses with some 'attitude!'
wle atlanta II May 20, 2012 at 01:12 PM
it's still 6 miles to the nearest trader joe's that would be a good anchor local bike store? only 2 miles to nearest kroger [2 of them actually within 2 miles] so no sweet tomatoes..? wle
Paula May 20, 2012 at 01:33 PM
I believe Big Star was after Colonial.
Kathie " SOC" Coy May 20, 2012 at 01:48 PM
I remember shopping with my Grandmother at the Big Star! I worked at Georgia Art Supply in the 90's too. I would love to see another big chain grocery store again. Why has it gone down hill SO much over the years? It's such a great location??
Kathie " SOC" Coy May 20, 2012 at 01:50 PM
There is a GREAT Indian resturant that has been there for over 15 years..... Himalayas.
Kathie " SOC" Coy May 20, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Zaxby's has lost funding to finish the build, I think I would be running away from that project.
Max May 20, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Before that, the franchisees were on 'bended knee' requesting variances....
jason jones May 20, 2012 at 08:25 PM
how about a walmart grocery store, they have been putting them in gwinnett.,they are starting to put them in old shopping centers
Tim Darnell (Editor) May 20, 2012 at 08:52 PM
I enjoyed the Subway too!
Steve Walker May 20, 2012 at 09:50 PM
PetSmart, a few specialty eateries, Hardware Store, Meat//Butchers store, Grocery Store..maybe Aldi's....The place needs several big destination type stores to keep smaller specialty stores in business. And needs to have the design pedestrian friendly in a way to direct foot traffic by all of the stores. Don't get to expensive, remember its Chamblee not Brookhaven, but NO, NOT EVEN ONE nail salon, check cashing place tanning salon,pawn shop etc or history will repeat itself and the centre will be doomed.
Steve Walker May 20, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Live, Work, Play in the Chamblee area and every business in there will tell you that the City of Chamblee is among the most difficult to deal with anywhere.
Judy's Garden May 20, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Maybe Kroger? How about Home Depot? A successful anchor would certainly increase the attractivevness of the mall.
"E Pluribus Unum" May 21, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Oh my, very special memories of Chamblee Plaza. I remember sitting at the Woolworth's lunch counter visiting my mother who was a waitress there in the early 1960's. Mom later was responsible for opening and running the One Hour Martinizing dry cleaner at the end of the mall (the space next door to where Athens Pizza was located). As far as ideas? I like the way Steve Walker is thinking.
Ida Beth Barner May 21, 2012 at 03:50 AM
Mayor Clarkson announced this past week that someone is finally working on a plan for the development of Chamblee Plaza.
Judy Tabano May 21, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Great place for a Total Wine........ And maybe a Kohls
Momo May 21, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Trader Joes, Pier 1, grocery store, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, JoAnns, Target, Marshall's , TJ Maxx, Athens Pizza... Obviously anchor stores this big if you're going for this size business.. Even more commercial eateries like Chipoltes, Jasons Deli, TJ Applebee's, Fridays. I've lived off and on in Chamblee area all my life. It would be nice to not travel to the OTP to visit these establishments.
John Folgers May 27, 2012 at 02:06 PM
A bowling alley or a Dave & Buster's would be nice.
Eric H August 10, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Tear it down and build a good mixed use which the Chamblee ordinances were designed to promote. There's no rush. Wait for the market. By the way for liquor or wine Empire Package next door is a great place, manager is a great guy and there is more inside than the outside portrays.
Kristen September 20, 2012 at 01:44 AM
We should have an anchor that is not a few miles away. Something like Kohls would be great.

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