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Wal-Mart won’t confirm plans for grocery store in Roswell
by Joan Durbin
May 22, 2013 10:49 AM | 7475 views | 1 1 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Now that a new complex of high-end rental apartments in Roswell has been OK’d to replace the Frazier Street rental complex housing low income tenants, the next spoke of the area’s redevelopment wheel is the aging shopping center directly adjacent to the site of the apartments.

An application for a demolition permit for that shopping center has people talking about what might be replacing it.

The application, filed with the city by an Atlanta attorney on behalf of an entity called Roswell Commons, LP, says the proposed use of the property is new construction of a grocery store, specifically a neighborhood market by Wal-Mart.

The site is the same shopping center on Alpharetta Street where Family Dollar is located and was the former home of the Southern Skillet restaurant.

Bill Wertz, Wal-Mart’s director of communications for the eastern U.S., declined to confirm that the company intended to build a market there.

“While we have announced no plans for a Wal-Mart at this location, we are continuing to evaluate opportunities to serve more customers in the Atlanta area and throughout Georgia,” Wertz said.

“We know area residents are shopping and working in our existing stores, and we are always looking for ways to offer new options for jobs and affordable food.”

The demolition permit application was first going to be heard by a city panel in May, and then the date was bumped back to July, according to Roswell’s community relations director, Julie Brechbill. At present, it is scheduled for the July meeting of the historic preservation committee, she said.

Wertz said the application is in limbo. “All I can say about the permit application is that it’s been put on hold and is not going forward at this point,” he said.

Brechbill said the city has no documentation of any building plans from the retail giant.

“There has been a lot of speculation in the community concerning a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market going into the former Southern Skillet Space. However, at this point there is no paperwork filed with the city for building a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market,” Brechbill said.

“Until an official Historic Preservation Commission application is filed, we do not know what will go in at that location.”

A grocery store in the heart of the city has long been on area residents’ wish list.

But one of those citizens, Janet Russell, is not rolling out the red carpet for a Wal-Mart market. During the public hearing last week on the luxury apartments slated for the Frazier Street site, Russell said the upscale tenants the apartments are designed to attract “aren’t going to want to shop there.

“How about a Fresh Market or a Trader Joe’s? Anything but Wal-Mart.”

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