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Selig Seeking Ideas for Suburban Plaza

The developer is asking residents for suggestions on tenants and architectural elements.

Selig Enterprises, the development company that , is asking residents for ideas.

In a letter to the Medlock Area Neighborhood Association, Scott Selig said,

We at Selig have always said that the best design features in our projects come from those will will ultimately visit the center and know what kind of vibe needs to be created. ... We encourage everyone to provide feedback through your representatives on any suggestions you might have whether it be potential tentants or architectural elements and we will review them all.

The letter addressed two other issues.

Selig says company representatives had an unfruitful meeting July 12 with leaders of , a group that opposes Selig's plan to build a Walmart.

Selig says the company told GGD in advance that it wouldn't talk about Walmart, but the organization didn't want to talk about anything else. Only one non-Walmart question was asked, Selig said.

Patch asked GGD for their side of the story. Robert Blondeau responded with an email, saying the group leaders presented an anti-Walmart petition with more than 3,000 signatures.

The meeting was contentious and perhaps unproductive if you gauge success solely through Selig's narrowly defined ideas; that is, Selig getting its way.  On the other hand, Selig finally heard the other, unfiltered side of the story: Walmart is not wanted and the company's plan is fatally flawed in terms of growing a more vibrant community.  ... With that in mind, Good Growth DeKalb views the meeting as a success.  Someone finally was able to say to Selig that their redevelopment plans are not a welcome addition to the neighborhood. 

Blondeau says GGD will keep fighting the Walmart plan.

Also, Selig also said in the letter that the company is seeking ways to improve pedestrian connectivity at North Decatur Road, Scott Boulevard and Melock Road.

mark July 27, 2012 at 12:33 PM
i would like a Go Walmart sign also...but the No Walmart folk are such zealots i would be concerned for my families well being if one was posted in my yard.
Jo July 27, 2012 at 01:17 PM
That's just not the place for a WM. A half mile down the road would be fine, but not there.
Jo July 27, 2012 at 01:23 PM
I'm very opposed to WM in that plaza, and I have not been to a Good Growth DeKalb meeting yet...so you are WRONG if you think that "the majority" wants WM there. Many of my neighbors have Stop WM signs in their yards. Have you SEEN that intersection in rush hour??!! A little logic and planning is necessary, folks. It's not a love-or-hate-Walmart thing, it's about handling traffic patterns on our streets. What we don't plan for now becomes a traffic nightmare down the road. Be logical.
Nubs July 27, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Right, Jo. Not in my back yard. I'll drive to your back yard and shop at Wamart...what hypocracy
Henry Batten July 27, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Please keep Big Lots!!!!!!!
David S July 27, 2012 at 02:43 PM
How presumptuous of Selig to expect to “get their way!” Just because it’s, you know, their property, and, you know, their investment dollars? Also, did Mr. Blondeau happen to mention that the “petition” presented by GGD is an online instrument run by change.org (a subsidiary of moveon.org)? And that the “signatures” include, not only folks from other states, but other countries, as well? Didn’t think so. This is hardly representative of the neighborhood.
Helen Lenkerd July 27, 2012 at 03:05 PM
How can you say Walmart is NOT WANTED? I, for one, DO want it very much. There are others who also would like to see Walmart come to our neighborhood. Is this just one more example of the class envy that is so prevalent these days? Some people simply can't stand it if others manage to make more money! They would welcome Target, but not Walmart. What's the difference? Anyway, Target has not expressed a desire to come here. And, if that's true about signatures on the petition, only those from the neigborhood should be considered. Helen Lenkerd
Jo July 27, 2012 at 03:24 PM
You're missing the point, Nubs. Half a mile away IS still my backyard. But there are more suitable locations where traffic can get in and out and PAST much more smoothly. That's what **Planning** is for.
Deanne July 27, 2012 at 03:53 PM
In response to Robert's view of the meeting (reposted from Decatur Patch)- Good Growth Dekalb's representatives let their members down by refusing to go over their list of ideas or raise any concerns other than Walmart. Theresa Same of MANA and I were on hand to answer any questions regarding the neighborhoods' efforts, including the Conditions negotiated, or on the process to date. The Selig folks were more than ready to speak to anything asked, aside from Walmart, and did manage to give a small bit of information in the very limited chance that they were given to share it. GGD's petition was presented, and it contains signatures from Decatur area residents, the extended metro area, and from across the country. It should be noted that Good Growth Dekalb's request for a meeting with Selig did not occur until 8 months after the requested special exception for reduced parking (variance) was granted. The meeting was one of the most unpleasant situations I've ever been present for, and included a personal attack on Scott Selig and his family's legacy. Ralph's GGD link in this post leads to one of the most interesting threads related to Suburban Plaza's re-do.You'll find me (community liaison) and Good Growth Dekalb's co-chair Robert Blondeau and Victoria Webb (role unknown) among the commenters.
Deanne July 27, 2012 at 03:56 PM
On defining a vibrant community (repost of response to Robert's statement)- A vibrant community is not its structures; it is its people. A community's vibrancy flourishes when its people come together and collectively seek ways to honor the hopes and needs of all who live within it, knowing that give and take will be needed, and will be rewarded when honest efforts have been put in. It is magic when it happens; however, it can't be only wished for or forced into being. Creating special spaces, meeting the needs of its people, and nurturing dreams into reality are all some of the things that we do to enrich our lives and allow for people to come together. Whether actions taken lead to the building of a vibrant community lies within the how. Selig welcomes our community's input on potential tenants and ideas for architectural features. I am happy to receive any suggestions that you'd like to share. You may reach me through the Decatur Heights Neighborhood Association's email address. Please indicate Suburban Plaza Idea in the subject line. www.decaturheightsneighbors@gmail.com .
Deanne July 27, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Here's a short clip on the project that inspired the Selig folks to bring in architect Roberto Paredes to work his magic at Suburban Plaza! Enjoy dreaming of all the possibilities! :0) http://www.uliatlantaawards.com/2011-project-winners/shops-around-lenox-development-of-excellence-winner/
Jo July 27, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Let's get back to the ORIGINAL question on this article--here are a few things I would love to see in that particular plaza, that I think would work with the traffic patterns: --A bank --Medical offices (parking would be much easier at Suburban than at the 2 nearby hospitals) --Some nice restaurants (more ethnic cuisines!) --Possibly a relo of the arts center from Emory (because parking there is bad, and an arts center's demand for traffic patterns would, I believe, be more suitable here because their schedules would be outside rush hours) --Stores with less high-traffic that are approp for family & student populations, perhaps like Old Navy or Staples --A really good ice cream shop
prettyflower July 28, 2012 at 02:43 AM
I would die for a coffee drive-through.
prettyflower July 28, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Morelli's is expanding... truth be told SP would probably be too close to Edgewood, but Edgewood is too close to Ormewood!
Sam Talliaferro July 28, 2012 at 04:28 PM
If it was a Target, there would be no problem. People are lame ass fools.
Michael de Give July 28, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Good Growth Dekalb are not zealots. They are people concerned with the kind of business that is located in their neighborhood. They are people who have the best interests of their community at heart. They work hard for their community. The zealots are the pro Walmart people. Many anti Walmart signs have been stolen or destroyed. In one documented incident, a couple was caught trying to steal a No Walmart sign and when challenged, they resorted to violence by tearing the sign from the owner's hands. Most pro Walmart folks are uneducated about the far reaching effects of Walmart's business practices and probably don't care anyway. The world is full of people who don't care. Walmart has billions of dollars to throw the public a bone in the form of cheaper medicines or some other feel good propaganda. Like the three monkeys, "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil."
prettyflower July 28, 2012 at 09:15 PM
I think it's bad form to claim that GGD are not zealots and then point an accusing finger at "pro-Walmart" people. For one thing, I think that there are many people, myself included, who are neither pro-GGD nor pro-WalMart. I have been critical of GGD's approach and wish that they could work more cooperatively with all of the other parties involved, but I am neither uneducated nor a fan of WalMart. In fact, I have not shopped at WalMart in at least 7 years, since I attending a showing of The High Cost of Low Prices at Decatur Library in 2005 (maybe you were there, too?). Anyway, I hardly think that one hostile sign-removing couple represents all of those who oppose GGD's efforts, and it's insulting to assume that we are uneducated and don't care, or even that all of GGD's critics are WalMart lovers. I can add this to the LONG list of things GGD fans have said that have left a bad taste in my mouth.
Michael de Give July 28, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Good Growth Dekalb is a grass roots organization that is doing the best it can with very limited resources. Unlike MANA and Selig, it was started very recently and has worked very hard to get the word out about Walmart. The people that started GGD were not alerted to the fact that a Walmart might be coming to Suburban Plaza until almost a year of planning behind closed doors by Selig and Dekalb County. GGD has been playing catch up ever since. There will always be tempers flaring at meeting where passionate opinions abound. This also happens when frustrations rise because a Goliath won't negotiate with a David. I am not condoning any negative comments that were allegedly made at the meeting. Your comments above were made to cast the worst light on GGD. It reflects poorly on you.
Michael de Give July 29, 2012 at 12:32 AM
I was replying to a comment left on July 27 where GGD were called zealots and the person who said it also said he feared for his family's safety. To me that is hugely inflammatory and untrue. GGD is nothing if not a pacifist organization who believes that it is the right of all Americans to protest.
Michael de Give July 29, 2012 at 12:54 AM
I hear Walmart is doing some pretty horrible things. I'm going to take a stand and say that I'm educated about it but I don't have an opinion either way. I guess that gets me off the hook. I don't care one way or the other. I'm neither pro GGD nor pro Walmart. Wow. What a relief to just sit on the fence. Those politicians had it right all along didn't they. Its so much easier this way.
prettyflower July 29, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Nah, mostly I feel that no matter my personal feelings about Wal-Mart, as far as I know under current zoning laws they have a right to open a business in Suburban Plaza. If I thought GGD had a leg to stand on I would likely stand with them, but I'm not impressed with their platform. That about sums it up.
Michael de Give July 29, 2012 at 01:21 AM
I guess that's the feeling that many people have. I'm glad Martin Luther King didn't feel that way. I'm glad that the leader of Good Growth Dekalb's mother didn't feel that way when she fought Columbia University in New York for forty years to keep her apartment and those of countless others in New York City from being taken by a bunch of Goliaths. She won that one and they actually renovated her building and named it after her. GGD's leader also fought hard for the rights of poor workers at Atlantic Steel back in the 70's. She was the first woman to work there in decades. She was treated horribly but she persevered. She has fought for others rights all her life. She can't stand to come onto these chat rooms because it hurts her so much to see the things that people write. She is truly a gentle soul but also made of steel. I wish we had a hundred just like her.
prettyflower July 29, 2012 at 01:48 AM
I care deeply about a number of things, this is just pretty low on my list. There are a lot of causes that are important to me that other people don't "get," so I can relate to that. I would hardly relate the work of MLK to GGD's objections about Wal-Mart at Suburban Plaza, though. YMMV.
Michael de Give July 29, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Its all relative. Martin Luther King was fighting for the rights of Black African Americans. GGD is fighting for among other things, the rights of millions of foreign workers as well as American workers.
Michael de Give July 29, 2012 at 02:11 AM
I want to amend my last comment about Martin Luther King. He faced innumerable dangers and of course assassination. It is ridiculous for me to equate what GGD is doing to what he faced as a civil rights pioneer.
Chrissy Weeks July 30, 2012 at 12:04 PM
A nicer gym like LA Fitness or something would be nice. Decatur Y is fine but it is just SO crowded. Would like a less kids option. And don't hate - I have a kid - just would love a kid free place to work out and have a grown up moment. And I live across the street from Suburban plaza. Don't want Walmart but there being something there I do want would take some of the sting away.
JuliaMcElroy July 30, 2012 at 01:25 PM
I would love a JoAnn's fabric store. Hancock is a total dump and has a horrible selection. There is not a good all-purpose fabric store ITP. (I love you, Intown Quilters, but you don't always have what I want.) At the very least make Hancock expand in size and selection. I'd also l.o.v.e. a Bojangles there.
Jane Ayres July 30, 2012 at 10:07 PM
I would like to see a fabric store, a coffee shop/bakery, a "town square" type space with seating and room for a small performance keep and expand Onstage Atlanta (it would be great to have them able to offer children's theater and classes) a workout place (with childcare) a bookstore a store selling artsy-craftsy / folk art objects (like the ones in Decatur) clothing store All that said, I am quite concerned about the traffic flow. That six-way intersection is tricky to navigate safely either in a car or on foot, and I really want to see what is planned to make it safe and useable.
Rick August 18, 2012 at 08:44 PM
At the corner of N. Druid Hills Rd and Lawrencville Hwy, there is a dead shopping center that would be perfect for Walmart. There are 2 or 3 empty former car dealerships about 1/4 of a mile from Suburban Plaza that would work as well. Selig is forcing out popular Suburban Plaza businesses (Last Chance Thrift, Pottery Place, OnStage Atlanta, etc.) and putting good people out of work. And then there is the traffic at a six-way stop with gigantic Walmart 16-wheelers added to the mix... I want to know what Walmart's plan is after the store fails and sits empty.
Deanne August 18, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Rick, I chatted with Bill Stogner, Selig's Sr. VP for Retail Leasing, a few nights ago on some of these very things! Fascinating to hear Bill's take on the N. Druid/L'ville Hwy shopping center, Suburban Plaza's displaced tenants, the many vacant car lots.... everything you've mentioned but the Walmart stuff. Interested in hearing about it? (Normally, I'd just go on and share it, but Bill sees trying to engage naysayers on blogs to be about as productive as beating one's head against a brick wall. Personally, I always welcome the chance to engage with others on things that matter to our community, but I get that over the many threads about Selig's plans for Suburban Plaza, he's seen the very worst in some folks on full display. Rick, I guess what I'm sayin' is I'd need to know that you're also okay with folks having different views before I say anything more on it.)

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