Work begins on mammoth Your DeKalb Farmers Market expansion
The plan calls for the Scottdale market to grow by more than 1 million square feet
A gigantic expansion of the beloved Your DeKalb Farmers Market is set to begin in the near future, with construction preparation already underway.
First pitched in 2012, the plan calls for the Scottdale market to grow by more than 1 million square feet - and could reportedly become the country's largest grocery store upon completion.
It's unclear if the expansion remains on schedule. The plan calls for the first phase to be finished sometime in 2015 and the entire project no later than 2023.
The addition's exact size is also fuzzy. Multiple versions of the plan submitted for official review in 2012 contain different, sometimes contradictory numbers. Co-owner Barbara Blazer tells CL that they have indeed started site prep. "What we're committed to doing right now is grading it," she says. But she declined to share further details about the construction project.
"We're not ready to give that information out yet," Blazer says. "We don't have that information. ... It depends on a lot of different things."
But the expansion will likely be mammoth. The 142,000 square-foot retail space will more than double in size and could top 550,000 square feet. In addition, a major increase in warehouse space and more than 2,600 new parking spaces are coming to the lot. The 100-plus-acre project is expected to consume most of the wooded area between its current parking lot and DeKalb Industrial Way.
Founded by Blazer more than three decades ago, the DeKalb Farmers Market has become a local cultural icon for its enormous selection of global foods and low prices. Previous expansions, including the 1980s construction of the current store, are part of its history.
Last week, Decaturish reported that construction crews had started work on the site. A DeKalb Farmers Market employee told CL that the work is just site preparation, not actual construction yet. We were unable to find any recent construction permits that appear related to the work. DeKalb County planning officials could not be reached for comment. We'll post an update if we hear back.
Different versions of the plan can be found on the websites of the Atlanta Regional Commission and the neighboring city of Avondale Estates. Likely produced at different times in 2012, the plans have significantly different square-footage - off by nearly 200,000 square feet - and construction timelines.
But the overall scheme is the same. The current store will become a warehouse and wholesaling space. A new store and warehouse complex will go into a giant facility along the site's eastern side.
Due to the project's massive size, ARC reviewed it and issued a 2012 "Development of Regional Impact" report. Among other things, ARC found the expanded store will add close to 23,000 new vehicle trips to area roads each weekday.
"The development is proposed in a typical suburban strip mall format," reported ARC, which was not thrilled with the store's design. It recommended better pedestrian access, a better layout of green space, additional bicycle parking, and water-permeable parking lots.
ARC's role was purely advisory, according to spokesperson Jim Jaquish, and it's unclear whether the DeKalb Farmers Market altered the plan based on those suggestions.
NOTE: This story has been updated to include additional information.