Toco Hills Promenade Still Working to Fill Empty Storefronts

Roughly seven months after major renovations, the shopping center remains nearly half empty.

If you frequent the Toco Hill Shopping Center, then you probably noticed the section of the center that faces North Druid Hills Road has undergone some major changes. The Toco Hills Promenade, the property that stretches from down to , went through a major redevelopment process that began in early 2010 and finished in October. However, despite major renovations many of the shopping center’s windows remain home to red and white “available” signs.

The property is owned by Edens & Avant, a Columbia, SC, company that owns and manages 124 shopping centers in major urban areas throughout the East Coast. Robbie Robertson, a company spokesman, said the company was appealing to potential tenants by stressing the Promenade’s unique collection of local and national businesses.

“We work really closely with the community to find a merchant mix that’s more reflective of the surrounding area,” he said.

Edens & Avant has a policy of not commenting on any pending negotiations, he said, and he declined to offer more about specific plans to fill the Promenade’s vacant storefronts.

This reporter counted 33 storefronts at the property, 16 of which are occupied and 13 of which are not. Five other storefronts are empty but did not advertise availability.

The recent improvements to the 154,300 square foot, 52-year-old property were substantial. An Edens & Avant press release boasted of a “fresh architectural aesthetic,” including new storefront lighting, green screening and landscaping, a repaved parking lot and pedestrian-friendly walkways and public gathering places.

And while many vacant storefronts remain, new tenants have moved into the shopping center. now serves up fresh-to-order New York style bagels to North Druid Hills shoppers and offers self-serve fro-yo. Other new additions to the complex include Dr. Marc Wright, DDS and . La Parilla, an expanding Georgia Mexican restaurant chain, will this fall.

Publix, the complex’s largest tenant, also remodeled its store and added curbside service.

Darnall said that all of these changes were aimed at ensuring that the Toco Hills Promenade conveyed a welcoming image to the community.

“In considering our redevelopment options, we wanted to create a place where local shoppers could relax and reconnect with one another,” he said. “With a more inviting atmosphere that was designed to connect with the community, the new Toco Hills will continue to be an essential part of the [North] Druid Hills neighborhood for the next 50 years.”

Jonathan Cribbs May 25, 2011 at 03:50 PM
Well, I also think Edens & Avant wouldn't be too keen on cannibalizing its tenant's business either. Plus, I don't think there's a an anchor space for a Trader Joe's there. Either way, it's clear people really want a Trader Joe's.
Betsy June 03, 2011 at 11:22 AM
I'd love a Trader Joes! Another good spot would be the old Winn-Dixie in Suburban Plaza.
Stan Chapman June 24, 2011 at 02:49 AM
I'm all for Trader Joe's. Incidentally, the name for the shopping center technically is Toco Hill (singular!) Shopping Center, but it is mispronounced so often that I wonder if it hasn't become OK to say "Toco Hills."
Jonathan Cribbs June 24, 2011 at 05:23 AM
Actually, the Toco Hill Shopping Center is only a portion of that giant structure. The part with the Publix and Uncle Maddio's and Goldberg's is called Toco Hills Promenade. Two different companies. Two different shopping centers. Two different spellings (for some reason). That said the name of the community is Toco Hill (singular). But you're right; over time the singular and the plural have become interchangeable. The plural in the promenade probably has something to do with the fact that Edens & Avant, which owns the promenade, is based in Columbia, SC, and wouldn't know Toco Hill from Toco Bill.
Tom Doolittle June 27, 2011 at 04:36 AM
Although I believe this renovation started before the 2008 meltdown, seems like the new investment is one of few in the area after 2000--correct me if I'm wrong. The owner must think there's a healthy growth market around Toco Hill. In fact, investment interest seems to be along Druid Hills Road all of the way from I-85 (note the Sembler plans and new announcement of a CID). No doubt, Druid Hills and Emory are a big part of this, but my friends from who might have shopped near Northlake mall 20 years ago now drive the 3 miles "in" rather than shop a mile from home. In fact, those near Lakeside High School afiliate with the Toco area with almost their passion for Oak Grove. I would be very interested in the market decision process that the company used to validate the investment--then wonder if they considered an investment in Northlake, why and why not. Not the subject of an article, but that of an economic development research project for county officials and merchants in Northlake. (I have reason to believe the market data is confusing and misunderstood by national firms trying to evaluate Northlake's bsuiness core). BTW--I think a Publix non-compete quashed any notion of Trader Joe's in the Northlake Publix property, so the observation above by Jonathan may be correct.


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