Sunday, August 26, 2012

Suburban Plaza Redevelopment: August update

from Theresa Same, MANA Zoning Chair

Our cross-neighborhoods committee continues to meet with Selig to discuss the evolving design and future plans for Suburban Plaza. Selig Enterprises has been receptive to feedback from both the committee and the community. We will continue to provide regular updates throughout the design and construction of this project and look forward to your feedback and ideas.

It has come to my attention that in previous updates, I did not properly introduce our cross-neighborhoods committee.  The committee was formed from residents who were actively involved in the stakeholder meetings/contract negotiations with Selig and Walmart in November and December (2011).  While MANA was the only neighborhood organization both able [i.e., incorporation status in place] and willing to sign a contract with Selig and Walmart, many other neighborhoods were identified as stakeholders and represented in our negotiations.  I am joined on the committee by Nancy Ciliax (Clairmont Heights), David Duncan (Medlock Place), Todd Link (resident of Springdale Heights), and Deanne Thomas (Decatur Heights).  I am eternally grateful to find myself working with such a thoughtful and dedicated group of people. We remain committed to working with Selig to shape the best development we can for our community. Selig is represented by Scott Selig, Bill Stogner, Kevin Curry and Greg Catoe.

Design – Selig continues to work with architect Roberto Paredes at Associated Space Design (ASD) to refine the design of the fa├žade and add improvements that will create a “sense of place” within Suburban Plaza. Two design elements have been added to advance this goal are:
1) commissioning a local artist to create custom-painted graphic walls.  Instead of having a long expanse of wall, we have an opportunity for public art at the shopping center.  
2) adding two community kiosks.  These will be permanent structures which will allow for the temporary sale of items such as girl scout cookies, works by local artists, food, etc.

Selig and ASD have been refining design details such as choice of building materials and a color palette.  At our meeting last week, Selig shared samples of the variety of materials under consideration (some are noted in the rendering that appears below).  We were all happy to see that Selig plans to use color and a variety of materials on the renovation that harmonize with Suburban Plaza's surroundings.  We were gratified to learn that Selig plans to use sustainable materials such as resysta.  Resysta has the look and feel of wood, but is made of rice husks, salt and mineral oil.  It is resistant to weather and requires minimal maintenance.

Click to enlarge.

Detail (from image above).
Click to enlarge.

Many people have asked for specific information on which buildings will demolished at Suburban Plaza. The site plan below shows the new Walmart overlaid on the existing buildings at Suburban Plaza.  The blue dotted line represents existing buildings to be demolished to accommodate Walmart, whose footprint is highlighted in yellow.

Demolition plan shown relative to Walmart footprint.
Click to enlarge.

Selig is also working closely with Bilson and Associates on plans that will greatly increase the landscape and greenery that currently exists at Suburban Plaza.

Walmart has not released their plans for their building, but has stated a desire to create a cohesive look with the rest of the mall.

I want to remind everyone again that the design process is always mutable and that changes should be expected as the plans are further refined.

Permitting and Scheduling – Both Walmart and Selig are in the permitting process for the redevelopment of Suburban Plaza.  They are having ongoing meetings with various departments in DeKalb County.

Demolition and construction are still estimated to begin in the first half of 2013.  Selig anticipates that all construction will be complete by fall of 2014.

Leasing – Selig is in serious negotiations with several tenants.  We will release the names of the new or remaining tenants as soon as I have them.

Traffic and Transportation – At the request of the community, Selig has hired a traffic engineering firm to study the intersection of Scott Boulevard, North Decatur Road and Medlock Road.  The engineering company is tasked with identifying operation adjustments that might enhance safety and efficiency; specifically, they will address the interaction between vehicles and pedestrians at the intersection and how crossings can be improved without impacting traffic flow (a Georgia Department of Transportation concern). The firm’s traffic engineers will work closely with both Georgia Department of Transportation (since Scott Boulevard is a state road) and Dekalb County engineers to formulate recommendations.

I hope these updates help better visualize the changes coming to Suburban Plaza. If you have questions or feedback, please forward them to medlockassoc@gmail.com.