- A new shopping, dining, and living complex is being built on the corner of Lumpkin and Hull street downtown.
- Storeowners that were against the proposed Walmart and supporting this building.
- Some storeowners feel this will bring them more business as opposed to taking away from their customers.
A new shopping, living and dining complex is being built downtown and is receiving support from a group that was against opening a Walmart in the past. Many store owners feel that this new apartment and retail space will help benefit businesses in the area. Local storeowner Russell Edwards agrees. He says “Right now that space is a surface parking lot, so to replace a surface parking lot with a nice looking building that will have residential retail and offices, is the kind of development that we want in the downtown corridor.”
The development will be on the corner of Hull and Lumpkin street. It plans to have 40,000 square feet of retail space and close to 300 bedrooms. David Dwyer, director for Atlas Real Estate, the developers of the project, says the area will attract more people to the west side of Athens.
Stores near the development think this new addition will benefit them the most. Manager of Cheeky Peach says “I think it’s probably gonna bring people down here just because…most people stay on Clayton street just because thats where all the restaurants are and that’s where all the businesses are, but when people realize there’s more developing further down they’re probably gonna, it’s not gonna be that big of a walk for them anymore as opposed to, ‘Oh, I don’t wanna walk three blocks extra just for one store’ kinda deal.”
One local restaurant isn’t worried about losing customers to the new restaurants opening in their backyard. Manager of the Globe says “It should affect it to some extent, but we already have a pretty established clientele. Competition is always good, but I mean, we’ve been here for 25 years so we have an established clientele. So we’re not worried about new business necessarily hurting us in the long run.”
However, Russell Edwards feels that what attracts most tourists to downtown Athens is the community feel. He hopes this news development will only add to that atmosphere by employing more local businesses. He says “Most generic retailers, they don’t really bring a flavor to a community because it’s just something that exists wherever they go. They just bring the same thing everywhere. And I know a lot of the local retailers here and they love Athens, they love the Athens community, and they bring a lot to the Athens community.”
Shoppers, diners, and future residents can expect the development to be finished by the summer of 2015.