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Walmart Hopes To Start Suburban Plaza Demolition in '13

A garden center is included in the updated site plan for the store.

Walmart and Selig Enterprises hope to demolish part of Suburban Plaza shopping center in the first half of 2013.

That's some of the updated information posted recently on the website of the Medlock Area Neighorhood Association (MANA).

The posting includes the latest site design for the Walmart Supercenter to be built at Suburban Plaza, the aging shopping center located just outside the Decatur city limits at Church Street, North Decatur Road and Scott Boulevard.

Part of the shopping center would be torn down to make room for the Super Walmart. The rest of the shopping center would be renovated.

Other highlights of the posting:

  • The new design includes a garden center. It's unclear if Walmart plans to have a full garden center or just wants to sell some gardening supplies.
  • Walmart and will apply for applications to begin site work in coming weeks.
  • Selig is negotiating with several national retailers and local businesses who want to locate at Surburban Plaza.
  • Selig told Same preliminary contracts with Walmart have been signed.

The information was provided by Theresa Same, MANA zoning chairwoman. She's privy to the development documents because she and the MANA leadership have decided it's best idea to work with the developers.

Other area residents vehemently oppose the coming of Walmart, saying the big box retailer is a bad fit for the neighborhood and will cause problems with traffic and congestion.

Opposition to the Walmart has grown steadily in recent months. Opponents marched into downtown Decatur one Saturday and , the main organization fighting Walmat, plans to put protesters on the street near the shopping center during rush hour this Friday.

For a full look at the updated information, go to the MANA website.

Do you think the construction of Walmart is inevitable? If yes, what changes would you like to see to the plan?

Bryan Gregory June 05, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Same at Howell Mill Road . The Ace Hardware next to that Walmart is thriving. Further evidence that Walmart is not the small business killer that their opposition always screams about.
Victoria Webb June 05, 2012 at 08:21 PM
I hope that those who are on the fence about this proposed Walmart, will read these links and join GGD in their protests against it. Because Dekalb had to cut back its staff, there may not be enough code inspectors to adequately enforce asbestos abatement - asbestos will surely be in SP's 1960's era construction. Since Walmart and its contractors have been in many lawsuits over EPA and Clean Water Act violations, without constant oversight it would be naive to think that Suburban Plaza will be safely demolished, piece by piece. It's also very expensive. Do we want to subject children who live nearby to these risks, and whose health issues from asbestos released into the air may not be realized for years? Walmart has been the subject of many labor and EPA violations - not only in this country, but also abroad - because the corporation outsources the majority of their suppliers. 80% of them are in China, where workers do not have the freedom of association. Just a few of Walmart's labor violations cited by the International Labor Rights Forum in DC: Back pay violations amounting to $4.8million that Walmart agreed to pay after an investigation by the Dept. of Labor, forced labor of 16-18 hrs a day, minimum wage and maternity leave violations, health care and safety issues. Does our neighborhood really want to support a corporation with such a poor track record? If so, our greed for low prices may be matched only by our lack of ethics in the workplace.
N.G. June 05, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Deanne, The STOP Walmart signs represent a majority of the community. Just because you are active on this Board and more people do not take you to task does not mean that you represent the majority. And I am not impressed at all that Theresa Same and Selig have invited you to continue the "talks." Big deal. What good are you doing? Nothing. Your triple talk on these sites might impress some people, but you come across as a mean spirited, vindictive, ill-willed, unhappy person. And as far as pulling contribution information from websites, those sites do not give the full information. Money is passed through prisms to deflect the true identity of the contributors. Not to mention that financial contributions aren't the only way palms are greased. I know many public officials whose kids are in jobs that they aren't the best qualified for because of payback. Period. And, I repeat, there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking the question. If anyone is insulted then you aren't living in the real world.
Deanne June 05, 2012 at 10:14 PM
N.G.- Perhaps you've changed your mind on your words of wisdom to another commenter: "These people" are your neighbors, they are not your enemies of war. If you have a different opinion, of course you have a right to organize and express it, so I would say you should do it. http://decatur.patch.com/articles/anti-walmart-group-marches-through-decatur#photo-9299142 (To read anyone's comments, just click on their name.) As far as signs on Sycamore Dr. go, there are about 20 along the entire length of the street and about 100 houses.Throughout Decatur Heights there are about 3 dozen signs, and we have approx. 575 residences.
David D June 06, 2012 at 12:55 AM
The majority of the community is NOT against Wal-Mart. Get real folks. Your world is so small....and you have torn the neighborhood apart with your weirdness.
Ms. June 06, 2012 at 02:21 AM
"you come across as a mean spirited, vindictive, ill-willed, unhappy person." Just wow... You say she doesn't do anything, but seem to think this sort of attack contributes to your cause? I really don't know what prompted you to go there in such a personal manner.
Bryan Gregory June 06, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Victoria, why the lies and scare tactics? Your association with People For A Bitter Athens is very indicative of your quality of character. That group lost all their credibility in Athens and fortunately Good Grief DeKalb is sufferimg the same fate here . Educate yourself about asbestos abatement requirements before embarrassing yourself in a public forum.
Deanne June 06, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Slim- I'm glad to read that you have finally come to agree that everyone has an equal right to be heard. Where you and I will always disagree is on the tactics used when there is a difference of opinion. Insults and accusations never help a situation. In the case of neighborhoods, they take a tremendous toll that's difficult for neighbors to recover from. As for your opinion of me, I don't apologize for taking an interest in my community and piping up or pitching in where I can to try to make a positive difference, and I do it knowing that there will almost always be people to find fault. You'll understand if I don't engage with you further as it only adds negativity when neighbors need to be able to focus on their legitimate concerns related to Suburban Plaza's redevelopment. (N.G.- I didn't mean to give you the impression that I was trying to trump anyone. I just wanted to be above board honest about my role going forward.)
Ms. June 06, 2012 at 01:13 PM
This is the last thing I'm going to add because this went way unproductive a while ago, but when something is wrong, I have to say it. These intensely personal attacks seem so unnecessary. I have noticed a very distinctive tone throughout this process, of the stop-Walmart group. They are willing to take it below the belt when someone has the nerve to challenge them, and get downright mean. I'm a young and plugged into life without virgin ears and eyes, but these type of personal attacks are really uncomfortable to read, and honestly make even me cringe, which is really saying something. Slim- I don't know Deanne personally, but she's very active in the community, many know who she is, and she has done much good for the community long before Walmart came along. At the next public hearing, why don't you go up and introduce yourself to her, and then tell her your opinion of her to her face? Otherwise, you're actually the one hiding behind your keyboard bullying. She's putting herself out there and most of know exactly who she is, your comment is classic projection.
Victoria Webb June 06, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Nothing in my post is incorrect. The facts and figures are taken from the Dept. of Labor and the Int. Labor Rights Forum. Asbestos release is a serious health risk, people should be concerned. If the City of Decatur were providing oversight the way they did with the library's asbestos abatement years ago, I wouldn't worry. But the property is under the county's purview and federal regulations. Of course if Decatur's proposed annexation had taken place already, there wouldn't be a Walmart coming into the neighborhood. Mayor Floyd has already said he opposed it. So has House Representative Karla Drenner. The fact that communities are responding to what goes into their neighborhoods is a positive development, and shows true democracy working. The ordinances do need to be updated - to encourage pedestrian friendly smart growth and small local businesses, rather than a huge sprawling chain selling less than adequate product from China. Accusations of lying and slander show the other side's desperation. Perhaps because the majority of homeowners and residents are in agreement in protest against this development.
Bryan Gregory June 06, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Victoria, when buildings are demolished the materials, if any, that contain asbestos are removed prior to the building being torn down. There is nothing "released into the air". Further, asbestos was banned over 30 years ago. With so many tenants having moved in and out since then it is highly unlikely any asbesto materials remain on this property. Also, go look at the products on the shelves at Big Lots and Ace Hardware and report back to us how many of their products are also made in China. Do you have any valid reasons for opposing Walmart?
David D June 06, 2012 at 07:17 PM
N.G., Sorry, but it's time to call you and the rest of the bitter folks out on facts. I just returned from a count of Wal-Mart hate signs along Sycamore. There are 22 of them, as of 3:00 PM on June 6, 2012. I counted at least 120 houses between Ponce de Leon and Church Street (I counted houses facing Sycamore, or those with substantial property frontage on Sycamore. (I did not count homes at Sycamore Station or any of the townhouses in the multi-family developments since they may have signage restrictions.) If a majority of folks support GGD, where do they live? The 22 signs on Sycamore represent only 18% of the houses along the street. I, for one, AM TIRED OF GGD HYPERBOLE. The anti-Wal-Mart signs make Sycamore look like one long run-down trailer park.
Victoria Webb June 06, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Bryan, perhaps you're unaware of the problems with asbestos abatement. It's a serious business and if done improperly will elicit a fine for the construction firm hired to do the work. There are thousands of firms being fined for violating the federal regulations. Why the fines, you may ask? Because it's an expensive process to do it correctly and companies skimp. Improper abatement won't prevent asbestos particles being released into the atmosphere and subsequent health hazards. Undisturbed of course, asbestos poses little health risk. The EPA has demolition practices and the risks of asbestos to health, outlined on their site. 30 years ago was 1982. Suburban Plaza was built in 1959, during a period when asbestos was used for many building materials, including roofing, floor coverings, etc. Whether or not tenants moved in and out is not relevant - the plaza hasn't had any abatement since the time it was built. It may still be in the roofing, in flooring and insulation, plaster, caulking and even in the cement used. Princeton University offers a list that includes all of those and is still not complete. As for valid reasons to oppose Walmart, you may want to re-read my first post on this thread. Walmart has been involved in a large number of lawsuits and fines, including the most recent securities lawsuit of bribery corruption by their top executives in Mexico- all in order to get their stores built.
Bryan Gregory June 07, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Victoria , my grandmother once told my sister she would get a venereal disease if she wore tight jeans. You are as about logical as my grandmother.
N.G. June 07, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Deanne, I own my comments. I respect neighbors who have different opinions that are expressed in a respectful way. Your activity on these boards is nothing short of outrageous. And you wish you had as much class in your whole body as Theresa Same has in her index finger. Get over yourself. And I called out Sycamore bacsue you live on Sycamore. I have spoken to manypeople on your street and they have either never heard of you or they couldn;t care less about you. Not so influential as you thought, are you Deanne Thomas. I have also printed out your comments about Mayor Floyd being a figure head and will mail them to him tonight as well as to Linda Harris. And David D. -- get over yourself. Counting signs has no direct correlation to the actual number of people who support us. Many people do not want to display signs for their own reasons, but they are anti-Walmart. And what "Hyperbole" are you talking about? Your posts are pretty hyperbolic in of themselves. If you can't stand that people are organizing around a casue they believe, then fine, that's your right. But to constantly criticize and attack as if people who don;t want a Walmart are the devil makes you look absolutely ridiculous! But, I will say, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE thefact that my post made you take your precious time to count signs and houses!!!!!!!! Excellent!!! Time well spent my man!
David D June 07, 2012 at 11:36 PM
N.G. You "love" the fact that there is no empirical evidence that the majority support the HATE WAL-MART group? I'm disappointed that you have taken the low-road and made some nasty comments about Deanne. That's the sort of nastiness I've seen from way too many of the Anti-Wal-Mart folks, beginning with the parking variance meeting with the County. By the way, I've spoken to the national USPS inspectors about the defacing of mailboxes on Sycamore with tape. This is becoming interesting. Whether GGD likes it or not, they cannot stop Wal-Mart. So, what are frustrated people going to do be against next? Poor people? Unemployed people? Overweight people? People without baby carriages? People with baby carriages? Sigh.
Theresa June 08, 2012 at 01:48 AM
I rarely comment because I don't like to participate in the written assaults that inevitably result. But I have to take a minute to thank Deanne for all the help and time that she has given to this cause. I could not have gotten through the last 6 months without her help. I'm not particularly a fan of Walmart and I will not defend their practices (and I have shared this opinion with Seling/Walmart several times). In the end, I believe that it doesn’t matter if we like Walmart or not–they have a legal right to build a store at SP. The property is zoned to allow a big box store. Are our zoning laws antiquated? Yes. Should they be changed? I believe so. Can this happen in time to change things at Suburban Plaza? I don’t see how. For these reason after much deliberation the MANA Board decided the best plan of action is to work with Selig/Walmart to get the best development we can for our community. Deanne likes Walmart more than I do, but she shares in our goal. I guarantee if the redevelopment of SP does happen; you will want an avenue for dialogue from the community with Selig/Walmart. It would be far worse with without neighborhood input. We are a community with or without Walmart. Let’s respect that there are a diversity of opinions and we can respectfully disagree. GGD brings to my attention many potential issues and I am thankful for that. For example, because of Victoria’s post, I will be asking Selig and Walmart about their asbestos removal policies.
Deanne June 08, 2012 at 03:35 AM
Theresa and David D, Thanks, y'all! Y'all are the very best kind of neighbors! :0)
Deanne June 08, 2012 at 03:40 AM
N.G.- If you'll ask her politely, Linda Harris will share that I've tried very hard to encourage all Decatur Heights neighbors to come join in our meetings, activities, and communications. Granted, I've not personally met every neighbor, 'though I've knocked on or left a note on just about every door. I also accept that I can't please all the neighbors that I do know (and confess there's a tiny handful of them that I could easily do without myself). I've definitely never claimed to be influential, and have no other aim for what I do other than to contribute positively to my neighborhood. Most times I'm very nice, but I'll readily admit I'll get in there and scrap when it's needed. Two differences between you and me is that I very rarely fight dirty, and I'm quick to own up when I've gotten something wrong. Here, I'm going turn the other cheek and leave it be.
Deanne June 08, 2012 at 03:52 AM
I enjoy being a part of Decatur's blogs communities, and I don't mind a fair heated argument, but since it seems that Good Growth Dekalb's supporters are unable to stick with criticisms related to the issue, and will continue with personal attacks in their declared "war," I'm going to discontinue trying to share information about Suburban Plaza's redevelopment on Patch. After all, it's an approved project that doesn't require “sides.” We'll make do with the occasional updates on the neighborhood sites. ( Folks, please be very careful to protect your identity if you're opting to weigh in with your support for this project. The ugliness has also been extended to off blogs actions.)
Nick June 08, 2012 at 04:31 PM
"For these reason after much deliberation the MANA Board decided the best plan of action is to work with Selig/Walmart to get the best development we can for our community." I know a MARTA station is planned for this location, too...in the event that it gets voted down, I encourage the neighboring communities to INSIST that Walmart/MARTA provide COVERED BUS STOPS AT ALL LOCATIONS on the site, to discourage the use of stray shopping carts as benches at the bus stops...See: Avondale Walmart.
K.C.S. June 08, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Yep-looks like the news reports may be true. The use of bath salts really has reached epidemic proportions.
Bryan Gregory June 09, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Slim, Deanne was actually successful in negotiating concessions from Selig and Walmart on how they are developing the project. What have you done? Seriously, humor us all and lay out what you have accomplished.
D Ebaugh June 09, 2012 at 12:04 PM
Agree with you, David. And personally, I'm tired of GGD flyers littering up my mailbox (where it's not LEGAL to post flyers on or in someone's mailbox). I am not a Walmart "lover", but I would never put a "Stop Walmart" sign up and am glad that Suburban Plaza is finally getting redeveloped. The traffic is already bad and No, I don't think someone will DIE because of Walmart traffic blocking the route to Dekalb Medical or Emory Hospital. And I will let my shopping dollars continue to go to ACE when appropriate (vs. Home Depot or Lowe's), etc.
Victoria Webb June 09, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Thanks, Theresa, for your comment about asbestos concerns. While Commissioner Rader asserted yesterday at the GGD rally that the 'abatement and demolition will follow standard procedures', I still think it behooves the community to be aware of the many fines and lawsuits that construction firms nation wide have accrued. Some courts are awarding millions to workers - who have been exposed decades prior to their illnesses surfacing. The DOE may evaulate, but that would only happen after the fact. Some states, like Maryland, are establishing new standards for asbestos abatement, with stiffer fines and longer jail sentences for business owners who violate environmental law. "Asbestos continues to be a potential threat to anyone who has a job in demolition or remodeling,” said Scott Schneider, an occupation director for the Laborers Health and Safety Fund of North America. “My hope is that other states will pass their own asbestos worker protection law.” I hope that Dekalb county commissioners will help to enact a similar law this year and make our neighborhoods safer during demolition of any kind. GGD will continue to be a watchdog on this issue if the Walmart development goes forward.
Darrall Loggins June 11, 2012 at 01:47 AM
I left Decatur 10 years ago for a job in another state. I just moved back to the area and was amazed at the demise of Decatur (East Side). Outside of the downtown area, the town has lost many major businesses (Car dealerships, WinnDixie, and some areas look like a ghost town. Looks to me you should be thankful for Walmart coming in unless you are hell bent on living in the past and hate progress. Decatur needs the tax revenue generated from Walmart. And the ones who hate it so bad will be shopping there when it opens.
Steve June 11, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Unless and until it annexes the property, Decatur will get no tax revenue from anything at Suburban Plaza, because it's in DeKalb County, not in the city limits.
David D June 11, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Slim, if you were as smart as you think you are, you'd know that the Decatur mayor is elected by the City Commissioners, not the residents of Decatur. Maybe you should check facts. There isn't direct public participation in selecting the mayor. Maybe you could try a history course about Decatur government. It is very tragic that you felt the need to post personal attacks. By the way, I don't think many neighborhoods in the South will tolerate public incivility without calling out the offender.
Bert December 11, 2012 at 11:36 PM
I know I'm late responding on this, but I am so tired of Decatur residents trying to be so politically correct. I can't believe people are actually defending Walmart. The only reason Walmart is taking over Suburban Plaza, in my opinion, is because they are the only company with the money and legal team to do so. I don't know who Dianne is, but apparently she is ecstatic with joy and looks forward to buying flannel shirts made in China. People move to Decatur because of it's uniqueness and urban charm. Walmart does not fit any of those values. I have been living here going on 16 years. Is it really necessary to put a Walmart within a few miles of the Belvedere location? Why not just go to that location if you like Walmart? It doesn't make sense. There has been a surplus of traffic and car accidents since the Belvedere location has opened. You would think you were driving on Peachtree Road in Buckhead when traveling down Columbia and Memorial drive - and those roads have more lanes. At the Belvedere Walmart, they have 3-4 cash register lanes (out of over a dozen) opened during peak times. They also converted the express lanes into "self-checkout" which defeats the purpose as many customers aren't technically inclined. The pharmacy has 4-6 staff behind the counter with only one register opened - the wait time can be a half hour. I don't care if I sound harsh or insensitive with forum etiquette, but take it like an adult as this is life.
Bert December 11, 2012 at 11:43 PM
As long as suburbanites keep moving in-town to Decatur, they will bring their suburban values, like Walmart, Golden Corral and tanning salons.

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