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Are 'Suburban-Style' Shopping Centers Banished?

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Some residents around Glenwood Park and its surrounding patchwork of neighborhoods switched into hell-no activist mode last fall when whispers that Walmart could be coming turned to fact — and city planners appear to be siding with them. For the second time, Atlanta city planning officials rejected Buckhead-based Fuqua Development's request for variances to build a suburban-style shopping center that would abut the Atlanta Beltline. Some would call the move uncharacteristic of Atlanta's bureaucracy, which has the reputation of being nearsighted and bending to the wants of builders. Is the bar being raised, and is the Beltline the catalyst for that?

Originally, Fuqua's plans for the project — dubbed "Glenwood Place" — called for 199,050 square feet of retail on a 20-acre tract at 800 Glenwood Ave. Those plans changed slightly — too slightly, in the eyes of city planners — following a November rejection by the city. The retail footprint shrunk by less than 2,000 square feet, while the number of parking spaces swelled by 110, East Atlanta Patch reported. The developer is allowed a third shot at bringing a plan that's up to snuff — i.e., one that meets the requirements of the applicable zoning districts — but it's not yet clear if they will.

The minor edit to the initial plans miffed at least one official. NPU-W Chairman Ed Gilgor wrote in an email obtained by Creative Loafing: "If the applicant (Fuqua) does make another submission, NPU-W hopes that it will be one reflective of the Beltline Vision, and not that of a suburban shopping center which for some reason appears to be the only 'vision' applicant has offered thus far."

· City Planning Director Rejects Glenwood Project Proposal — Again [East Atlanta Patch]
· City once again rejects Fuqua's plans along Beltline [Creative Loafing]
· The Next Walmart Showdown: Glenwood Park [Curbed Atlanta]