But Cynthia Hicks, vice president of leasing and development for U.S. Properties Group, owner of the Shoppes at Morrow Station, said the moratorium is keeping out some of the very businesses the city wants to attract — especially those capable of filling empty big box stores.
The company, which has shopping centers in 10 states across the country, has signed a letter of intent with retailer Goodwill to fill space in the shopping center left vacant almost two years ago after electronics giant H.H. Gregg went bankrupt. The company has been negotiating to bring other retailers to the 485,000- square-foot center, but the moratorium has thrown those plans in doubt, she said.
“My assumption is you would rather see those spaces vacant,” she told the council. “I don’t know what else to say.”
Mariangela Corales, a vice president of legal services and general counsel for Goodwill, said Morrow was missing a good opportunity to land a retailer that would bring 55 jobs and be a catalyst to attract other retailers because the brand has been an anchor in many communities.
“We have a store in the Mall of Georgia, we have a store in Perimeter and Buckhead,” said Corales, who lives in Morrow and frequents Shoppes at Morrow Station. “What they are saying is Morrow is not open for business.”
Councilwoman Renee Knight said the moratorium is necessary so the city can develop a comprehensive plan to address zoning that is attracting so many wig shops and gas stations.
“We want to build our muscle in development rather than continuing to go down the same road and get the same stores,” she said. “We want to place a new vision for our residents.”