New Publix grocery store coming to Atlanta’s Summerhill neighborhood

May 20, 2021 Atlanta - Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (right) and Councilwoman Carla Smith react as they announce during an unveiling event in Summerhill neighborhood on Thursday, May 20, 2021. Grocery chain Publix is slated to anchor the project's retail portion across Hank Aaron Drive from the former Turner Field. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
May 20, 2021 Atlanta - Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (right) and Councilwoman Carla Smith react as they announce during an unveiling event in Summerhill neighborhood on Thursday, May 20, 2021. Grocery chain Publix is slated to anchor the project's retail portion across Hank Aaron Drive from the former Turner Field. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Construction has begun for a Publix grocery store for residents in Atlanta’s Summerhill neighborhood.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and City Councilwoman Carla Smith joined real estate leaders from the Carter firm Thursday for a ceremony at 572 Hank Aaron Drive, where the store will be built across from the 565 Hank apartments.

Publix is opening the 50,000-square-foot store in an 80-acre redevelopment project spearheaded by Carter in partnership with K. King & Company and Healey Weatherholtz Properties.

Georgia State University in 2017 made a $30 million purchase of the city’s former Olympic stadium, also formerly known as Turner Field, that included the surrounding parking lots where the redevelopment is taking place. Bottoms — who served as executive director of the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority that managed Turner Field’s sale — said the development is bringing “much needed amenities” to the community.

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“The community has been waiting on a grocery store, not just for years, but for decades, to come back into this community,” Bottoms said.

Suzanne Mitchell, former president of the Organized Neighbors of Summerhill, said Summerhill fell victim to “blight, crime and neglect,” over time. But she said things are improving in the community.

“Today Summerhill is no longer an FDA food desert,” Mitchell said. “We are making good on old promises and rising, like the Phoenix.”

The businesses along Summerhill’s Georgia Avenue are fairly new. MARTA plans to develop a $68 million Capitol Avenue/Summerhill bus rapid transit line for the area. Plans are to add restaurants, retailers and service providers throughout the redevelopment.

The current phase of development in Summerhill includes 105 single-family townhomes and 565 Hank, which features 306 multifamily units near Georgia State University’s future baseball park.

Brenda Reid, Publix media and community relations manager, said she’s eager to see Publix act as “good stewards” in the area because she remembers “the journey this community has gone through” as she grew up in the West End area.

Summerhill was founded in 1865 and was the first neighborhood formed in Atlanta for freed enslaved Blacks and for Jewish immigrants. Additionally, the first school for Blacks in Atlanta was the Summerhill School, and the first black principal to work for Atlanta public schools worked at the Summerhill School.

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