Visions for Vacancies: The old Blockbuster Video store

What would you like to see move into the vacant store at Mt Vernon and Chamblee Dunwoody roads?

Patch is launching a new feature that’s a bit of a modern spin on community planning – a digital forum where all ideas are on the table.

Each week we’ll present a new vacant building and ask for readers to think about and then comment on what they would like to see develop there.

Don’t worry about what zone it’s in, ignore things like setback regulations and all the other zoning stuff the city has to deal with. If you had your say, what would you like to see there? What would be the best use for the community?

We launch this weekly series with the old Blockbuster Video store on 1575 Mt. Vernon Road that has been closed since April 2011.

Near the intersection of Mt. Vernon and Chamblee-Dunwoody roads, it’s in a prime location near Dunwoody Village. It's also a bit of an eyesore.

The property has been many things over the years, said Taylor Anderson, with Anderson Realty Advisors, which owns the property. Blockbuster occupied the space for 20 years, taking over for Turtle’s Records and Tapes. Before that it served as office space for a doctor’s office and a tailor.

While there has been a lot of interest in the property, there has been no deal finalized … yet. Well Street Urgent Care is in discussions to use the space, and has taken its plans to the Dunwoody Homeowners Association and is working with the city on plans.

What would you like to see there?

About this column: In highlighting vacant buildings in Dunwoody, we aim to help residents take a proactive role in planning and building their community. We'll take your feedback to public officials and property owners, to inform their decisions about future uses. Know of a vacant building we should highlight? Email jasonmassad@gmail.com

Max February 22, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Adrienne Duncan February 22, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Interesting idea for a column but how about highlighting properties that are not legally in play? The village Blockbuster has already been leased; the details of signage and exterior renovation are being hashed out. Brainstorming is over - the horse is out of the barn. How about discussions on, say, the Ace Hardware near Jett Ferry? Or the other Blockbuster that was going to be a Chick fil A until they ran into the Zoning Codes From Hell? I've got it - what to do with any one of the many unused former gas stations in the village. Or even the car wash across from the Farmhouse - there's a new "available" sign up on that corner. The group that opposed that car wash from the beginning in 2004 probably has some ideas given that it's the heart of the village.
Jason Massad February 22, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Thanks for the suggestions, Adrienne. I want to focus this feature on areas that are important to the community. The area around Dunwoody Village certainly fits the bill.
Paula February 22, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Might I suggest also the North Shallowford corridor - where the old Emory-Shallowford Hospital was recently demonishe and where the now-vacant 24 hour workout building is a really BIG eyesore - and a what we thought was going to be a park is now well, who knows what it is going to be. But, then again, my side of Dunwoody seems to get little attention.
Jason Massad February 22, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Paula, completely agree about North Shallowford. It's an area that we will be taking a look at.
Adrienne Duncan February 22, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Double-- I'm glad you're happy with the outcome and your opinion. I would not have allowed a used car lot, no. My reference to the zoning codes is consistent with my overall opinion that they were patched together in a hurry, are internally inconsistent in many places, unenforceable in some, very short-sighted and not easily applied to an evolving world. For example, I wouldn't put fast food drive throughs and used car lots in the same code designation. I am also concerned about the type of (over)reactions some citizens have to any and all zoning questions. Questions and minor conflicts that could be resolved with an in-person conversation are usually approached as if they were WW3. That is wrong and detrimental to the future of our city.
Max February 22, 2012 at 09:14 PM
You might want to take look at the area surrounding the new Neighborhood Wal-Mart situated at Winters Chapel and Peeler, by the reservoir, as well.
Rachel Maeroff February 23, 2012 at 06:30 AM
How about Trader Joe's as an addition to one of the vacant properties? Would be great in the former Ace Hardware site .
Heyward February 23, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Part of the problem with the ace location is that is currently leased by Kroger and they don't want any competition. So a non grocery store is the only solution until the lease runs out.
Jim Murphy February 23, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Since Kroger controls the Ace location how about a Kroger gas station in the parking lot next to the road. Then I can redeem my Kroger gas points right next door. If needed, knock down the Blockbuster end of the building. Jim
Louis February 23, 2012 at 04:57 PM
After a Goodwill store and a Chick-Fil-A were ran off, is there really anything of substantial size that could possibly open there?
Bill Grossman February 23, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Rumor has it that a bank will go into the Dunwoody Club/Mt. Vernon location vacated by Blockbuster. Expect to see the existing building replaced. Kroger's lease on the old Harris Teeter/ Ace Hardware location still has over 15 years remaining. BP had leased the old gas station site across from the farmhouse and subleased to the carwash. Like Kroger, BP wants no close competetion. BP's lease is up this year.
Paula February 23, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Don't bank's have multiple drive-thru's. Wasn't this the issue with CFA?
Barbara Stanfield Koehler February 23, 2012 at 06:29 PM
What are the needs of this 12+ sq mile space, we call Dunwoody? How about a senior center? How about a children/teen activity center? What about an old fashion soda fountain? The idea of another urgent care and another bank doesn't appear to be adding value to the needs of the community.
Louis February 23, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Well stated....
Louis February 23, 2012 at 09:01 PM
It will not be an issue if the owners/president of the bank is friends with certain members of the DHA. Of course, if that does happen, then CFA would have a valid law suit for discrimination against them.
Alex H February 23, 2012 at 10:16 PM
I'd love a Chik-fil-a at that site. They're a good neighbor.
Max February 23, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Banks are zoned Office/Institutional use, which has a much lower impact on the surrounding area, despite having drive-thru service. This is because banks have a lower volume of business traffic than fast food operations. Restaurants are zoned commercial, with fast food having the greatest impact, and highest commercial zoning designation, C-3, on the surrounding area, mostly because the transactions are more frequent, especially at meal times. Currently Dun Zoning Code Chapter(s) 27 and16 Land Use will be reviewed for the re-write project. If you are really interested, here is the Municode: http://search.municode.com/html/14784/index.html
Bill Grossman February 27, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Louis's conspiracy theory is laffable. Banks (even with drive throughs) are allowed in NS (neighborhood shopping) zoning district and restaurants with drive throughs are not. Should this be changed during the rewrite of the Zoning code? Senior centers and the like are usually public (like the Fulton County Dorthy Benson senior center in Sandy Springs). The November Vote against the Parks Bonds shot down any chance of a Dunwoody based version, other than the several religious based facilities we already have in Dunwoody. Good luck getting Walgreens or CVS to add a soda fountain. I expect we'll see it about the same time we see a resurgence of drive-in theatres. The bank and the urgent care chain want a location in Dunwoody due to their market research. Chick-fil-A pulled out of the Mt. Vernon @ Dunwoody club location because all that they wanted would not fit that site. They are looking at other locations in Dunwoody. I'd like to see Popeye's chicken and Pig-n-chik Bar-b-que open up locations in Dunwoody with tasteful signage and exteriors. So I'll ask the City Economic Development Director to work on that...
Marcus Shanahan June 27, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Ive been looking at all of these spaces, but the lease requirments in many cases take them completely out of the ball park for a Fitness Center. This area really needs and is perfect for a smaller 5-10,000 SF space thats a fitness center with 24 hour access. The old Dunwoody Fitness lasted about 8 months and prior was an Australian Body Works. We would seriously like to open up a club at anyone of these spaces, although the Ace is perfect as well and will subdivide, but yet again the figures dont work for what they were asking per SF. Still looking, so if anyone has ideas, message me. mshanahan@r2managementgroup.vom


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