A Future for Small Businesses Amidst Buckhead Village Development?

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The exponential increase in  Buckhead Village Developments means a facelift for the neighborhood. But amidst the hum of bulldozers, many small local shops are being forced to close or relocate. With land prices having passed $10 million per acre, the economic feasibility of operating a freestanding cafe or bakery may simply be a thing of the past. Will our beloved local businesses survive this wave of development? We caught up with some owners of the area’s most iconic businesses for their perspectives on the future of the Buckhead Village.

Cafe Jonah | Souper Jenny

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Cafe Jonah closed it’s doors February 12, 2016 after 5 years of delighting Buckhead diners.

Restauranteur Jennifer Levison, founder of Cafe Jonah, Souper Jenny, Juicy Jenny, and more, announced on her blog that she has closed Cafe Jonah because of the recent sale of the property. The landlord who owned the tiny and worn out cottage where Cafe Jonah operated sold for $3.5 million. When Levison posted the news about her beloved Cafe Jonah on her Facebook pages, she echoed many of the community’s objections. But supportive comments from clients, friends and family poured in:

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Levison also announced that her flagship store at East Andrews Shopping Center, Souper Jenny, is moving into the newly-designed Atlanta History Center this April. Real estate developer Edens purchased the shopping center for $19.1 million (according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle). Edens requested that the restaurant remain at their newly-acquired development, but according to Levison, the Atlanta History Center offered a more attractive rent price and community growth opportunities.

Souper Jenny moving to Atlanta History Center
Rendering of Souper Jenny in the Atlanta History Center, courtesy of BuckheadView.com

We caught up with Levison for insight into her outlook on the upcoming move of her flagship restaurant.

“I’m very excited about our move into the History Center. When we were approached about it, I’d been wanting to open another (yes, another) location in Buckhead for some time. I’m so big on creating community, and the vision with this move is to enhance our relationships with the neighborhood, our current clients and our new clients. All the exciting things going on at the History Center, their commitment to the Buckhead and the extensive redesign – that’s the perfect partnership. We will have our own parking (guests don’t have to enter the Museum to get to us), new facility, and a new family. We’re excited to start this new journey.”


Boxwoods Gardens & Gifts

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Owners Dan Belman and Randy Korando of Boxwoods Garden & Gifts created this Buckhead legacy and told Buckhead.com more about it’s history and how it came to be. While Belman and Korando don’t own either property that their two across-the-street locations sit upon, they rely on good relationships and long-term leases.

“We’ve got a long-term lease on the home store and a very strong relationship with Jim Cumming (owner of the garden store), who has assured us that we will be here as long as we want to be. We are praying we’ll be able to stay and continue our legacy, the thought of moving this business… I can’t even comprehend! But you can’t forecast developers’ plans.”

On the new development of East Andrews Shopping Center (next to their Home store), Belman said, “I spoke with Edens about their plans, I think they get it. They mostly want to retain the typical Buckhead boutique kind of businesses. If they keep going in that direction, it will go well. What we need is to maintain the character of Buckhead.”


Present – The Fish Hawk

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Courtesy, Google Street View

Future – Rendering of new development to replace strip of stores including The Fish Hawk

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Courtesy, BuckheadView.com

As The Loudermilk Companies have filed a demolition permit to replace buildings on the block facing Peachtree and East Paces Ferry Roads with a multi-level mixed use office and retail building, rep Chip Pottinger told BuckheadView.com that the developers are helping Fish Hawk find a new home, as future plans call to tear down that strip of stores. With a moving date imminent for The Fish Hawk, owner Gary Merriman told Buckhead.com, “The time frame is up in the air, and the Loudermilks are good friends and customers so whenever the development starts, that’s when we will start looking.”


Present – Henri’s Bakery

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Future – Henri’s Bakery site merged with mixed use development

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Alliance Residential Company has agreed to purchase Henri’s Bakery & Café, the iconic family-owned breakfast and lunch spot on Irby Avenue in Buckhead. Thus, Henri’s Bakery will remain in it’s location on Irby Ave as part of the new mixed-use development (with a temporary relocation during construction). This means a new expanded facility for Henri’s Bakery, and a few new neighbors. Owner Madeline Leonard shared with Buckhead.com that she is very excited about the future and expansion opportunities for her family’s iconic Bakery – Buckhead’s favorite lunch spot.

“Our favorite memories have been made right here. Change is inevitable, and I understand that can be difficult, but it can also be really exciting. We will have new neighbors and make new memories! Honestly, we’ve been so crammed in our current building, we see this as an opportunity for growth of both Henri’s and our new neighbors!”

As a community, Buckhead heads forward and change is part of that. We could not be more thrilled to acquire new neighbors and improve our curb appeal. Our small businesses and local treasures will make new memories wherever they land – in their current homes or a few beautiful blocks over.


Take a look at more Buckhead Village developments in the pipeline and let us know what you think in the voting box below.

What’s YOUR take?

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