Board delays decision on North DeKalb Mall demolition, re-build plan

DeKalb County commissioners have pushed a decision on requests related to plans to tear down and rebuild North DeKalb Mall back perhaps to November.

A representative of the mall asked the board last week for more time because the mall is still working through the plans with the Atlanta Regional Commission. The ARC must be involved because it has deemed the project large enough to impact the area.

Sterling Organization intends to demolish the mall and start over with a huge project, including a Costco, more retail and restaurants, as well as housing and a hotel. Some existing tenants, including AMC Theatres and Burlington Coat Factory, are expected to stay.

The mall, like others built in the old indoor style, has been bleeding tenants for years and some parts have a deserted feel. The new development would be more modern, an outdoor mall with a variety of draws and a built-in customer base for the businesses there because of the housing component.

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While many support the idea of redeveloping the mall, residents and county staff have raised concerns about increases in traffic. Documents from the county show that staff recommended some redesign to make the plans more pedestrian friendly.

At the board’s meeting last Tuesday, resident Marshall Slayton told commissioners he was “very worried about the housing units.” The trouble with the 500 proposed units, he said, is that they could lead to increased traffic and school overcrowding.

Mary Shellman of the DeKalb Cross Neighborhoods Council said she isn’t opposed to the redevelopment, but the plans are “nowhere near” ready to go.

Commissioners could now pick up the matter at their Nov. 13 meeting, but it depends on timing of the ARC’s process with the mall’s owners.

The zoning already on of the land would allow the mall’s owners to tear it down and rebuild without county approval. But the intentions to add housing and a gas station (part of the Costco) require county approval.

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