Monday, December 13, 2010

Historic Westside Community on Road to Revitalization

Russell New Urban Development in talks with national retailer to bring low prices and savings to Atlanta University Center communities of Vine City and English Avenue

Russell New Urban Development LLC, the development arm of H.J. Russell and Company headed by H. Jerome Russell, in partnership with the Atlanta Development Authority (ADA) is furthering its revitalization of the Historic Westside Community by entering into discussions with Walmart with the goal of opening a new store in the neighborhood. This is a triumph for the City of Atlanta, which has made significant investments in rebuilding the Atlanta University Center communities of Vine City and English Avenue.

"Walmart is bringing more than jobs, goods and services to the residents of the community and the 12,000 students of the Atlanta University Center," said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. "The company is providing the spark this community needs to continue its transformation and become a healthy, thriving place where people want to live and study."

“In line with our reputation for pioneering the development of underserved communities, Russell New Urban Development has been aggressively seeking a new anchor tenant that would improve the quality of life for residents of this community,” said H. Jerome Russell, president. “With Walmart’s everyday low prices in general merchandise and groceries, the company is the ideal fit for the residents of this community and the broader Westside community, and we’re thrilled about the partnership with the company.”

While the details of the proposed site are being finalized, plans for the Walmart store feature in-store services like a money center and a pharmacy and an exterior that blends with the design of the surrounding businesses. The company’s most up-to-date environmentally sustainable elements, such as natural lighting and recycling programs, would be in place as well. The store will bring well-paying jobs with benefits to the community.

“We continue to seek ways we can serve our customers and communities so that people can save money and live better,” said Greg Sullivan, senior vice president for South East Division Walmart stores. “We recognize an opportunity to make an impact in Vine City and metro Atlanta by bringing jobs, convenience, fresh options and everyday low prices to the community.”

"I am elated that Walmart has chosen to locate one of its stores at 825 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in Historic Westside Village," said Ivory Young, Atlanta city councilman for District 3. "The revitalization of this corridor remains a priority for the city and the surrounding neighborhoods."

Since 1990, the city, through its economic development agency, the Atlanta Development Authority, has provided significant capital to the area, including $36 million in loans for major residential multifamily projects, $15 million in grants to redevelopment projects, $14.1 million in homeownership loans, $2.3 million in grants for homeless housing construction, a $1.7 million grant for the MLK/Ashby revitalization and $1.6 million in small-business loans.

“Walmart is the anchor we’ve been hoping for at this transit-oriented development site,” said Ernestine Garey, interim president of the Atlanta Development Authority. “Walmart is a pioneer with vision and commitment to sustainability to the communities they serve. This announcement will stabilize the investments we’ve already made on the site and in the surrounding community.”

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