Near-vacant Doraville shopping center to be transformed, ‘Assembly’ ready for next phase

Development still appears to be hopeful in Doraville with tax incentives approved this year for two large developments.   

Atlanta developer Kaufman Capital Partners announced plans to invest $50 million into a mixed-use project that will transform a 14-acre shopping plaza at Tilly Mill Road and Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Doraville.

The new development will be constructed at 14-acre shopping plaza at Tilly Mill Road and Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Doraville. Photo from Andy Yeoman- Doraville City Council Member Facebook page

The 35-year-old shopping center was formerly known as Friday’s Plaza. Much of the tenant space is currently vacant, and more than two-thirds of the space will be demolished to make way for the new development to be called The Village at Tilly Mill Crossing, according to a city press release. 

A memorandum of understanding was approved with Kaufman and Doraville Downtown Development Authority April 6 in which the DDA approved a tax incentive in exchange for reserving affordable housing units for police officers and guaranteed road improvements to the area, according to councilman Andy Yeoman, who is also a member of the DDA. 

The press release states that two residential buildings, ranging from three to five stories, will have more than 300 apartment units in addition to retail space. Kaufman Capital will receive an estimated $19 million in property tax abatements to offset redevelopment costs. The deadline for the project’s completion has been extended to March 2023 to allow for possible delays precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic, the release states.

Rendering from from Andy Yeoman- Doraville City Council Member Facebook page

Doraville Downtown Development Authority approved a $1.3 million tax abatement bond at its Feb. 24 meeting for the development of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and 300 luxury apartments at the 165-acre site of the former General Motors assembly plant now known as “Assembly Yards.”

General Motors left the site in 2008; developers have been transforming the property into a mixed-use development since 2014. 

“Between 2008 and 2014 it was pretty bleak for Doraville because we lost over $1 million in revenue when they left, coupled with the recession,” said Luke Howe, the city’s economic development director. “At its peak, GM employed 5,500 people in the 1980s. We would love for that to be the goal in the future to get 5,000 more [jobs].”

Third Rail Studios opened at the site in August 2017 and Serta Simmons Bedding headquarters opened in May 2019.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is a Texas-based chain known for serving dinner and drinks while movies are shown. The company has more than 40 location across the country; the Doraville location would be the first in Georgia, according to the company’s website.

Photo from Alamo Drafthouse Cinema website

While the cinema is expected to occupy about 1.5 acres and the apartments another 2.6 acres, approximately 150 acres of the property will remain for future development.

“It’s a lot to be done. We compete for every project [from companies that want] to do built-to-suit,” said Howe. “It’s been slow going but our goal for this is that it be an economic development site. We’re going to work to continue to land more corporate users and create more jobs.”

The property is located on Peachtree Road near the Doraville MARTA station and adjacent to Interstate 285.

According to The Assembly’s website, plans for the site are expected to include residential lofts, food halls, a rail park, hotel workspaces and public spaces. More than 700 multi-family units, to include 100 urban townhomes, are planned for the site. 

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