Gwinnett commissioners approve warehouses on former Dave & Buster’s land

Gwinnett Place Mall is near a former Dave & Buster’s that will become warehouses. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com AJC FILE PHOTO
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Gwinnett Place Mall is near a former Dave & Buster’s that will become warehouses. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com AJC FILE PHOTO

A shuttered Dave & Buster's near Gwinnett Place Mall is slated to become warehouses.

Gwinnett County commissioners on Tuesday approved a request to rezone land on Venture Drive that held the arcade and a Havertys furniture outlet. The Dave & Buster’s closed in March 2019; Havertys closed its store in December.

Attorney Shane Lanham said a developer planned to build a 156,000-square-foot warehouse on the property. Lanham told county commissioners it would be for last-mile distribution, and would likely result in a “major injection of jobs” for the area. He did not say how many jobs he expected the development to bring.

Joe Allen, the director of the Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District, said there are already some warehouses in the area. The land in question is not part of the CID, but Allen said it’s always better to have something fill empty space than to leave it vacant.

The mall itself is for sale, but Allen said he understood that the coronavirus pandemic had "put a kink" in efforts to market the property, which is largely vacant.

Allen said there are opportunities to transform the area around the mall, regardless of what happens to it.

“Our goal … is to transform the area into an internationally diverse, walkable, urban, livable, green, sustainable community in the heart of this dynamic county,” he said.

Lanham said the warehouse would add diversity to what currently exists in the area. He said it would “naturally complement the nearby residential uses as future employees would be attracted to neighborhoods located in close proximity” to the project.

Commissioners approved it at their first zoning meeting since February. March and April meetings were canceled as the county determined the best way to maintain public access while requiring social distancing.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the 445 seats in the government auditorium were reduced to 72, and a masked planning employee cleaned a speaker’s podium and microphone after every case. County commissioners and most of the public did not wear masks, though one commissioner participated in the meeting remotely.

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