Replacing Memorial Bend Publix Could Take Up to a Year, Shopping Center Owner Says
The Bedrin Organization has been through Publix leaving one of its shopping centers before: Killian Hill in Lilburn, where a Burlington now operates. "These things can be turned around but it takes time and effort," Jerry Bedrin said.
It could take six months to a year to replace the Publix store that’s soon to close at Memorial Bend shopping center, said Jerry Bedrin, partner with the Glen Rock, N.J.-based company that owns the center on Memorial Drive.
Publix is closing the store on Jan.9, at 10 p.m. Find out Publix's reason for leaving Memorial Bend here.
Bedrin, of The Bedrin Organization, is on the hunt for another anchor tenant. Among those he's talked to so far are the owners of Food Depot, Little Giant, and the broker for the Nam Dae Mun Farmers Market (this was suggested by a Patch reader, and other readers also touted international farmers market-type stores).
The problem is, those companies are involved in projects and can’t take on others right now, Bedrin said. For example, Food Depot is coming to Panola Road in Lithonia where the former Save Rite used to be.
“These aren’t little projects. These cost time, these cost money, these cost effort. You can only do one or two,” he said.
Bedrin plans to come to the Stone Mountain area next week. “I’m going to visit some of these places. I want to meet the owner of the international farmers market. I spoke to his broker as recently as [Tuesday morning]. If you meet people, it makes it easier to do business.”
Publix was the main attraction when the Bedrin Organization bought Memorial Bend seven years ago.
“We bought it because it had a Publix,” Bedrin said. “They said it wasn’t a high volume store, but they said it was still OK,” Bedrin said.
"This is way before Walmart ever got involved" in building a supercenter on Memorial Drive, Bedrin said.
Bedrin said his company was told a month ago that Publix was leaving Memorial Bend.
He's been through a Publix closing at another metro Atlanta property that the Bedrin Organization owns, Killian Hill Center in Lilburn. Burlington moved into the former Publix space several months ago.
“The state put a median down the road and that’s why Publix left," Bedrin said. "It stopped you from turning into the center easily. I went to the state and explained to them the problem. They let me open the median right at my entrance. Based on my ability to do that, Burlington said ‘we’ll take the Publix space.’ " Bedrin said opening up the median cost $300,000.
Despite the experiences with the Lakeland, Florida-based grocery store moving out of his centers, “I’m not here to bash Publix,” Bedrin said. “It is what it is. They’re in business. They make business decisions.”
He hopes support from county leaders and the local community can help get the space filled.
“We’re not abandoning them, I can tell you that,” Bedrin said. “We absolutely want to bring in another food retailer and that’s what we’re going to be working on.”