Developer withdraws controversial zoning request for large Stonecrest warehouse

This is a rendering of the previously planned distribution center.

Credit: City of Stonecrest

Combined ShapeCaption
This is a rendering of the previously planned distribution center.

Credit: City of Stonecrest

Due to public pushback, a developer is pausing its plans to build a large distribution facility in an area designated as Stonecrest’s future city center.

Duke Realty attempted to rezone a 31-acre lot to build a 330,000-square foot facility near Lithonia Industrial Boulevard just south of I-20. Several Stonecrest residents and city staff members opposed the company’s plans, since that land was set aside by the city for mixed-use development.

ExploreResident outcry delays — potentially ends — plans for large Stonecrest warehouse

The controversy led the Stonecrest Planning Commission to delay the developer’s rezoning request so Duke Realty could meet with the community again — in case any compromise could be reached. However, residents were surprised Thursday evening when the town hall was canceled because the company decided to withdraw its rezoning application.

“It just didn’t look like we would be well-served by pushing ahead right now given the amount of opposition,” Harold Buckley, Duke Realty’s attorney, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and residents who logged on to the virtual town hall. “We said instead of pushing forward, we’ll just withdraw the application.”

Buckley said Duke Realty, which is based in Indianapolis, made the decision only an hour or two before the town hall was scheduled to take place. He said they haven’t had time to discuss what will happen next for the property or the company’s project plans.

“An hour or two is not a lot of time to talk about future prospects,” Buckley said. “So we haven’t even broached subjects like that.”

The residents who tuned in for the town hall, who were mostly excited to hear the project was paused, repeatedly told Buckley that they’d be open to an industrial facility at a location in Stonecrest that’s already zoned for that type of use. Buckley said he’d pass that feedback on to Duke Realty.

If the company’s last-mile distribution center were to come to Stonecrest, it would join several other new warehouse facilities that have been popping up throughout metro Atlanta over the past few years.

DeKalb County has been one of the epicenters for growth in the logistics industry. A Home Depot distribution center came to Stonecrest this summer, and Amazon also recently announced a last-mile distribution center for Chamblee. The county also recently launched a workforce program meant to expose high school students to the area’s bevy of logistics, manufacturing and transportation jobs.

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