November 17, 2011
Wal-Mart Comes to Downtown Athens?
UGA Land Use Clinic alumnae Sarah Schinder (now Professor Schindler, Maine) must still follow Athens news pretty closely, because she is the first to alert me of a controversial new plan for Wal-Mart to anchor a big new mixed-use development in downtown Athens. From our local paper:
An Atlanta developer is planning a major retail and residential development on the fringe of downtown Athens, two Athens-Clarke officials said Wednesday.
Selig Enterprises is planning to build 200,000 square feet of commercial space between East Broad and Oconee streets, “including a 90,000- to 95,000-square-foot big-box, most likely to be a Walmart,” Commissioner Kelly Girtz said.
Actually, rumors of this plan have been floating around for awhile. Some folks are frustrated because this development supplants a more ambitious and community-driven plan to create a river district. The development will also displace local coffee favorite Jittery Joe's Roasting Company, but will mostly be placed on a vacant parcel once occupied by a building supply company. It may also bring a grocery store to downtown Athens, which some residents would welcome. The site is only blocks from where Occupy Athens is currently camped - I wonder if we'll see any cross-protesting?
Jamie Baker Roskie
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