Official likes plan to rebuild North DeKalb Mall — but has concerns

Jeff Rader, the DeKalb County commissioner who represents the North DeKalb Mall area, says he generally supports a massive planned renovation to the development, though a project of such magnitude is bound to present issues.

“We certainly would like to see the mall redeveloped,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, referring to himself and others in the county government. “But the devil is in the details.”

Because the mall’s owners are early in the planning, only so many details are available. Sterling Organization hopes to tear down the mall and replace it with an outdoor-style retail center including a Costco, along with apartments, townhomes and a hotel.

Generally speaking, Rader, who would be a key vote when the commission votes on the related applications, said he’s supportive of such a mixed-use project at the site. He said he hoped it could “age well,” because outdoor malls and mixed-use is the way the market is moving.

READ: Who’s surviving as Atlanta malls undergo change?

READ: PHOTOS: The most expensive home for sale in DeKalb right now

READ: Suit claims raid of popular strip club in DeKalb was unlawful

WATCH: Flashback photos of Metro Atlanta malls through the years 

As with any development of this size, traffic is a concern, especially at a well-traveled spot on the corner of U.S. 78 and U.S. 29. Rader intends to lobby for the plans to include ways for people to travel through the development, as opposed to only around it, to combat traffic concerns.

He also said the county will need to be careful to consider the interests of other companies that have recently built mixed-use projects in the area, such as the one featuring Sprouts Farmers Market on the corner of Church Street and U.S. 78. Such developments would be relying on some of the same customers, because they’re so close.

The mall’s owners haven’t put in the necessary applications with the county, and are only just starting community meetings to hear from neighbors.

Sterling Organization is also required, because of the size of the development, to work with the Atlanta Regional Commission to ensure it’s planned well.

Sterling expects redevelopment process to take at least several years.

Along the way, Rader said he wants to help figure out how to make “this thing work.”

Commissioner Kathie Gannon also represents the area but didn’t respond to an email sent last week seeking comment.

Like DeKalb County News Now on Facebook | Follow on Twitter