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Published on March 3rd, 2016 |

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Groundbreaking for Moores Mill Publix center draws community crowd

“This is about you today,” a jubilant Dist. 9 Atlanta City Councilwoman Felicia Moore told the crowd of more than 150 northwest Atlanta community leaders and residents who gathered to celebrate a rebirth of the abandoned Moores Mill Shopping Center and demise of a longtime food desert.

Atlanta City Councilwoman Felicia Moore thanks the crowd of community leader and residents who helped this "community Publix" to fruition.

Atlanta City Councilwoman Felicia Moore thanks the crowd of community leader and residents who helped this “community Publix” to fruition.

“Everyone in the community has been the thread that made this happen,” Moore said of the groundbreaking ceremony for the $95 million investment South Carolina-based Edens Company is making in redevelopment of the center, which includes a 45,600-square-foot Publix supermarket.

“This is a community Publix,” Moore declared.

While diligently working for almost 18 years to get this food store in her northwest Atlanta district had finally resulted in this dream-come-true morning, Moore said the best moment “for me will be having that shopping cart in my hands and going down the aisles.”

“Today is a great day for the upper West Side and the project,” said Herbert Ames, Edens vice president for the Southeast, who has been working on this project since 2005.

“I didn’t have these grey hairs when this started. I didn’t have a wife or baby daughter. Life was simpler back then. But life is a ton of fun now,” Ames said before introducing Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on a cold and windy March 2 morning.

“This is an important project that has been in the making for many years,” Reed said as he thanked Councilwoman Moore for her leadership and

Left to right, City Councilwoman Felicia Moore, Invest Atlanta CEO Dr. Eloisa Klementich, Edens CEO Jodie McLean and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

Left to right, City Councilwoman Felicia Moore, Invest Atlanta CEO Dr. Eloisa Klementich, Edens CEO Jodie McLean and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

perseverance bring it to fruition.

The project at the intersection of Moores Mill Road and Marietta Boulevard will ultimately have 70,000 square feet of retail space, including the long-awaited 45,600-square-foot Publix, and 345 apartment units. Opening date for phase one is June 2017.

The initial phase will include the Publix market and an additional 9,000 to 10,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space. The second phase will include 345 apartments by a yet unnamed developer, and an additional 15,000 square feet of retail space. It is expected to create 300 permanent jobs and 200 construction jobs and produce $2 million a year in tax revenues.

The retail component of the redeveloped shopping center will cost $40 million of the $95 million total project cost and is planned to include three or four restaurants in 10,000 square feet, including a coffee shop, one or two sit-down restaurants and a fast-casual restaurant.

Along with the redevelopment of the shopping center, Edens and the city of Atlanta will extend Moores Mill Road from its present termination through the shopping center to Marietta Boulevard and then west connecting to the neighborhoods.

“I always knew this day would come,” said Mayor Reed. “Today is just the beginning. This will bring more investment, more development and more

jobs to this part of Atlanta.”

At the end of the ceremony, Edens Vice President for Southeast Herbert Ames shows off his young daughter to the VIPs.

At the end of the ceremony, Edens Vice President for Southeast Herbert Ames shows off his young daughter to the VIPs.

The whole community theme to the groundbreaking ceremony played perfectly into Edens CEO Jodie McLean’s remarks. “Our only one purpose at Edens is to enrich communities,” McLean told the audience. “Communities are the enrichment of our lives.”

McLean told the city’s leadership and the community representatives, “We are here to entrench ourselves” in the community.

“There were moments we had doubts,” McLean admitted. “Thank you Felicia Moore for never abandoning us.”

With that lead in, Moore recapped some of the major happenings and moments since 1998 that brought her commitment to this project to Wednesday’s groundbreaking.

She said it started when former Atlanta Planning Director Michael Dobbins told her at a meeting at the neighboring R.M. Clayton Water Reclamation Facility that she needed to develop a northwest corridor plan.

She talked about the Atlanta Housing Authority funding the Perry/Bolton TAD and then the court challenges that followed with that TAD. She recalled how former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin got then State Sen. Kasim Reed to do legislation to allow the TAD funding to continue.

But mostly, she praised her constituents, the community she serves and the support they have provided her over the years through all this. “I truly appreciate your support and your advocacy,” she

Councilwoman Felicia Moore climbed up into the heavy equipment cab for a photo op after the ceremony ended.

Councilwoman Felicia Moore climbed up into the heavy equipment cab for a photo op after the ceremony ended.

told the audience.

In her position, she added, “You really appreciate being appreciated.”

Moore concluded saying, “It has been a long journey and I am looking forward to getting that grocery cart in my hands.”

Following the official tossing of dirt with the ceremonial shovels, Moore climbed up into the cab of piece of heavy-duty equipment that will be used for tearing down the old abandoned buildings on the site. She had been promised by Ames she could take the first swipe at the demolition.

But as Moore climbed back down from the piece of equipment, BuckheadView asked, “What happened? I thought you were going to do some wrecking work.” Moore answered, “They didn’t get the permit from the city yet.” Go figure, another delay.

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