Suburban Plaza update: bowling alley gone, may be replaced by book store

Posted by January 28, 2015
Greg Catoe, Project Manager of the Suburban Plaza redevelopment for Selig Enterprises, discussed timelines at the DHNA meeting for the new businesses coming to the shopping center. Photo by Dena Mellick

Greg Catoe, Project Manager of the Suburban Plaza redevelopment for Selig Enterprises, discussed timelines at the DHNA meeting for the new businesses coming to the shopping center. Photo by Dena Mellick

By Dena Mellick, contributor

Decatur’s Suburban Lanes Bowling Alley will not remain in the redeveloped Suburban Plaza. A book store may end up taking some of the basement space of the plaza on the Church Street side near where the bowling alley is now, according to developer, Selig Enterprises.

Two Selig representatives updated Decatur Heights residents at Tuesday night’s Decatur Heights Neighborhood Association (DHNA) meeting at The Church of Decatur Heights.

Bill Stogner, a senior vice president with Selig, said of the bowling alley, “We tried to keep it … Financially it was overwhelming for both of us.” Stogner said Suburban Lanes will stay through the end of April.

Stogner announced that Selig has a letter of intent with Half Price Books, an independent seller of books, magazines, and music, based out of Dallas, Texas. Stogner said the developer is working to get a lease signed on 9,000 square feet of space for the book store.

Stogner said leases have been signed with Walmart, LA Fitness, HomeGoods, and Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores. Another craft store that had been in Suburban Plaza, Hancock Fabrics, moved to Tucker this month.

Other businesses slated to move in include Starbucks (with an approved drive-through), AT&T, and Ross Dress for Less. Stogner said of Ross, “I’m excited about it, just from a retail perspective, because it brings apparel to the shopping center, and because of that apparel, we’re able to add a couple other things that we might not have gotten already.”

There are also plans for additional restaurants, including an Atlanta-based organic restaurant. Stogner wouldn’t give a name, but said he expects to know more this week.

Despite previous reports that Cozy Burger Town would be replaced by Starbucks, Stogner said the developer is trying to work with Cozy Burger so it can remain in the plaza. Other businesses that are sticking around: Moe’s Southwest Grill and the medical scrubs store Uniform Advantage.

Greg Catoe, the Selig project manager for Suburban Plaza, said Walmart is currently digging out the space for its underground parking. He said current plans indicate it could potentially open for business this fall. Readers may remember that last year Good Growth DeKalb suspended its fight against Walmart opening in the shopping center following an extensive legal battle.

Catoe said the existing space where LA Fitness will go is set to be torn down, with demolition beginning in the next two weeks. LA Fitness will open either late this year or in early 2016.

Much of the rest of the shopping center will undergo façade renovations, including the buildings where Big Lots, Piccadilly, and Hancock Fabrics were located. Catoe said those will start in February, with tenants opening for business in a year.

“We will be renovating the parking lot. As you know, if you’ve been out there, there’s been very little landscaping on the site. … We’re actually adding about an acre and a half of new green space,” Catoe said.

The Selig Enterprises representatives also emphasized that they’re working on street improvements around Suburban Plaza. Those additions include a 10-foot wide multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists along North Decatur Road. Catoe said a five-foot wide bike lane will be added along Church Street.

A traffic light will be installed at the North Decatur Road entrance to the plaza, and Stogner said Selig Enterprises has agreed to “speed dampening” tactics on Medlock Road. Median islands have also been slated for Sycamore Drive and Medlock Road to indicate drivers are entering a neighborhood.

During the presentation, one resident asked about expected security in Walmart’s underground parking garage, citing recent crimes at the Edgewood Retail District, which also has underground parking. There have been three recent carjackings at Edgewood, with two happening in the underground lot.

Stogner said there will be 24-hour security in the garage to begin with, “and then we’ll monitor and see what happens.” Stogner said there will always be 24-hour security inside the store.


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  • Doubtful

    Boo hiss on losing the bowling alley. It would be great to get a bookstore but I’m a little doubtful about its survival in that location. Even bookstores right Downtown in Decatur have not gotten enough business.

  • FinHead

    At least Moe’s is staying, that’s something positive.

  • Robert Butera

    I am super excited about half price books! I loved their stores in Texas. Nothing quite like them in Atlanta (book nook is closest)

    • meropa

      And Book Nook is a faaaaar cry from HPB, even on its best days.

  • Susan

    So much for keeping as many of the existing tenants as possible. I cannot believe Suburban Lanes is gone! Bad enough that Hancock got the boot. Half my childhood wardrobe, including my prom dress, came from fabric bought at that Hancock.

    • I believe the bowling alley is there for the time being, but the developer is saying it won’t remain there.

  • underscorex

    “Financially overwhelming” means “we could make a hell of a lot more money with something else”.

    That’s bullshit.

  • arturo


  • holler

    another one bites the dust. We heart you suburban lane bowling

  • GetOffMyLawn

    Actually, children have parties at Little Shop of Stories in Decatur all the time.

  • Pink Otter

    I’ve lived near Suburban Plaza for nearly 10 years…it has been a dying, outdated, depressed zone that entire time. Personally I am thrilled that we will have a populated and useful shopping center nearby now.

    And the LA Fitness will have a pool! About time Decatur had a better gym option for swimmers than the ancient Y pool.

    • caring person

      Well miss pink otter by the way that is a stupid name but it probably fit the person. That bowling ally is a landmark but you are just thinking about yourself

      • Pink Otter

        Seriously? Well at least my name fits me…

  • caring person

    It is a real shame that selig made all the promises to keep the tenants that wanted to stay and them through them out on the street. They could care less about all the senior bowlers that can’t drive to any other bowling ally to bowl or the veterans that come there every Monday and Thursday. Its a perfect example of getting what you want and staving everyone else in the back. But I’m sure none of the big exuctives at selig will sleep good in their million dollar houses tonight.

    • Sine qua non

      Lol..would be funny if those million dollar houses were in Oakhurst..they could be!

  • Pink Otter

    Okay, now you are making me laugh. How early do you start drinking, anyway?

  • DavidDecatur

    @”caring person”: your comments indicate a lot of negativity and rumor mongering. Why would you make up a fantasy story about putting the elderly out on the street? That isn’t “caring”. It’s spiteful and aimed to cause discomfort to those who live in the retirement home. In fact, it’s NOT honest. Shame on you for misleading people on purpose. That indicates a lack of authenticity that says a lot about you and nothing about Selig.

  • Thomas Walker

    I am the owner, Thomas Walker. My wife and I are very sad and the truth needs to be told about how things have transpired. Reading this article is how we (and our customers) found out they intend to bring in a new tenant! It has created mad chaos, confusion and anger, and we are now dealing with the negative effects.

    Forget about us, a commitment was made to the community that the bowling center would remain. I think it is sad when people do not honor their commitments and get away with it! There is still time. If you would like to see Suburban Lanes stay, please voice your opinion. I am not sure it will change their decision but we would appreciate your support. It would be great to see a commitment that was made to YOU kept!

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