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Attorney says Costco headed to North DeKalb Mall as part of larger development, could open by 2020

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Attorney says Costco headed to North DeKalb Mall as part of larger development, could open by 2020

The vacant Macy's store at North Dekalb Mall. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

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The vacant Macy’s store at North Dekalb Mall. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

This story has been updated. 

The long-awaited Costco at North DeKalb Mall is going to happen, an attorney for the property owner confirmed.

Residents in the area got a meeting notice in recent days that indicates the plans are moving forward.

Costco is not mentioned in the notice, but the company would likely want a gas pump, which is a popular feature for the retail chain. The company has long refused to comment about its plans for the shopping center. Last June, a well-placed source told Decaturish that Costco is hoping for a 2020 opening.

Kathy Zickert, an attorney for Sterling Organization which owns the mall, confirmed in an interview to Decaturish that Costco is coming to the mall and could open in 2020 at the earliest. But that’s not all. The redevelopment would be mixed use and include 450 multifamily units – apartments and possibly town homes – and a 152 key hotel. There would be restaurant and retail space. She said at least two existing tenants – the AMC movie theater and the Burlington Coat Factory – will continue their leases at the space during the redevelopment.

“It’ll be Costco, retail, restaurants, office, multi-family, town homes,” she said. “We’ll have everything.”

Costco declined to comment. Attempts to reach Sterling  for comment were unsuccessful.

Zickert said Costco might even open as late as 2021. Due to the project’s size it will have to be vetted as a Development of Regional Impact by the Atlanta Regional Commission.

“I don’t know why everyone is so excited about this meeting, because it’s just a standard pre-application community meeting that you have to have before you file for a rezoning,” she said. “I have been meeting with the community already and expect to continue those meetings. This is just the formal one that has to take place. We are a big enough project that it’s going to be a Development of Regional Impact, so even if we filed tomorrow, which we’re not doing, it’s not going to get heard until September anyway. So there’s plenty of time here to deal with the situation and respond to the neighbors’ concerns, whatever they might be.”

The possibility of opening a Costco at the mall has been talked about for years and the company was inching closer to a deal to open in the mall around 2008, shortly before the economy imploded.

Currently the mall is occupied mostly by businesses with short-term leases.

The mall was constructed in 1965. In a previous life, Macy’s was a Rich’s department store.

When Sterling Organization bought the mall in 2014, it said its plans were to transform the 622,297-square-foot space into an open-air mall concept.

According to property records, Sterling paid $15.5 million for most of the mall in 2014 and paid an additional $10 million for the Macy’s space in 2015. The closure of Macy’s renewed interest in the space because the retailer was an obstacle to Costco opening a store there. Macy’s would not give Costco access to its unused parking spaces, which held up the project.

Zickert wanted the public to know that the development won’t involve the flood plain on the property, an idea that generated public opposition in previous discussions.

“By demolishing the mall, we’re avoiding that,” she said.

This is a developing story and will be updated if more information becomes available …

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