This is a portion of the 9.7-acres site in Decatur slated to become a mixed use development that includes up to 289 apartments and a very large grocery. This area has been light industrial for at least a half century and includes among others an automobile junk yard, a tire repair business, plumbing business and a vacant store. All will eventually go away. Still no word if this iconic junkard will remain. Bill Banks for the AJC

Timeline uncertain for grocery-anchored development in east Decatur

The timeline remains uncertain for a projected development in east Decatur between North Arcadia Drive and East Ponce de Leon Avenue. Jack Wilcox, managing director for developer Alliance Realty Services, says he hopes to start “moving dirt” by the first or second quarter of next year, or “maybe sooner.”

Alliance still needs to get several variances from the city, finalize right-of-way abandonment of several on site roads while also resolving sewer issues with DeKalb County. Wilcox admitted he had no clear idea how long all that will take.

But the project was approved by the city last month after a complicated series of votes, which included changing the land use from light industrial to commercial/high density residential, and annexing about 8 acres into Decatur.

The site totals 9.7 acres (all now within city limits) and current plans call for up to 289 apartments, two retail buildings totaling 12,000 square feet (including one restaurant) and a 50,000 square foot grocery long rumored to be Publix. When interviewed this week Wilcox wouldn’t yet confirm the specific grocery.

“We’ve had several meetings with the city [since the June 4 approval],” Wilcox said. “We’ve listened to what they want and made the adjustments. We’ve created more pedestrian activity [including a sidewalk running east to west] and more green space.

“We’re also planning a sculpture garden,” he added. “We’ve added more glass [on the grocery’s rear facing Ponce] and more [variety] of materials to create a better visual effect [on the grocery] so you’re not looking at a 20-foot wall.”