Cobb: Merchants Walk redo a boon for new library

The last major renovation to Merchants Walk saw the demise of Ogletree’s, a long ago defunct upscale grocer that sat near where the Old Navy is now.

The memorable feature about Ogletree’s was its indoor carpeting throughout.

Carpeting didn’t ensure Ogletree’s endured any more than swanky tile floors helped Harris Teeter survive in this area.

But Whole Foods is betting on a higher-than-average income in the immediate vicinity to add to its bottom line, or as the AJC mentioned in a recent article about the renovation, Whole Foods will be “surrounded by high-wealth households.”

Other grocers in the area expect to compete with Whole Foods, particularly the Fresh Market just a half mile down Johnson Ferry from Merchants Walk.

As the manager of this Fresh Market said to me, “That’s all we can do.”

The chief difference between the two is Whole Foods touts its organic selection and Fresh Market likens itself to a small European vegetable, bread and meat market where you shop for fresh food daily.

Other renovations to the shopping center will ensure walkability and enhanced atmosphere, and the 12-screen movie theater at Merchants Walk, owned by the Georgia Theatre Company, will be easy and safe to reach on foot from the main shopping areas.

The property owner, Edens & Avant, expects to also add some restaurants to the complex, the sit-down type where diners can enjoy a meal before the movie in pleasant surroundings.

If you’re just shopping for organics at Whole Foods and need to grab a quick bite, Whole Foods is adding a café on the premises with prepared food offerings and indoor/outdoor seating.

In a kind of win-win situation, the cramped 9,820-square-foot Merchants Walk public library property was sold to Edens & Avant to make room for the redevelopment.

The library will move to Parkaire shopping center at 4880 Lower Roswell Road sometime after the first of the year.

The relocated library will be renamed East Cobb Library. The opportunity to move to a new location will not just change the name of the library, but upgrades will be apparent immediately upon entry to the new venue.

Apart from the extra space we should notice, going from just under 10,000 square feet at the current location to 16,864 square feet, the East Cobb Library will feature a teen center, a media room, a children’s activity room, and be wired for future technology.

An added bonus will be the use of natural lighting built into the design.

It will be exciting to see the new library open and equally as interesting to see the redesign of Merchants Walk improve the community with enhanced shopping, eating places, and a pedestrian-friendly commute to the movies.

Craig Allen of Marietta has lived in Cobb County for eight years.

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