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Former Oakview Grocery, Art Lab building being replaced with a two-story mixed-use project

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Former Oakview Grocery, Art Lab building being replaced with a two-story mixed-use project

Photo from 2021: Mission Builders is constructing a two-story mixed-use building on the site of the former Oakview Grocery store. The building will have retail space and residential units. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

Decatur, GA — The former Art Lab and Oakview Grocery building in Decatur has been torn down and construction has begun on a two-story mixed-use building on the site.

Mission Builders, which was Mission Development, applied for a rezoning in June 2017 and the plans for the project were made part of the conditional approval for the rezoning, Decatur Planning and Economic Development Director Angela Threadgill said.

The property in Oakhurst was once Oakview Grocery, which dates to about 1925. The property was last sold in 2015 for $265,000. The grocery store closed soon after, and the building was available for rent, according to Urbanize Atlanta.

In 2016, Art Lab, a pop-up gallery and experiential space, moved into the former grocery store. When it closed, someone got creative with graffiti and added an “F” to the Art Lab signage. The nickname “Fart Lab” stuck with the vacant space, and inspired a variety of merchandise like face masks, sticker, coffee mugs and t-shirts.

“We propose to replace existing with a two-story mixed use building with a terrace. [The] new building would consist of four one-bedroom units on terrace level, two commercial retail units on street level and one four-bedroom unit on second floor,” Mission Builder’s 2016 rezoning application states.

Threadgill said the project will have one residential unit, street-level retail and ground-level off-street parking.

“The zoning classification was changed from R-60 Single Family Residential to NMU – Neighborhood Mixed Use,” Threadgill said. “The developer must develop the property substantially similar to the plans approved by the City Commission.”

The demolition permit was issued on May 17 and demolition took place between that date and October, when general construction started on the rest of the property, Development Services Manager John Maximuk said. He added that he doesn’t recall any occupancy of the building in 2020-21.

According to a video posted in the Oakhurst neighborhood Facebook group, the demolition took place in September.

Maximuk also was not aware of whom the future occupants of the building will be. He anticipates construction to be finished in about six months.

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