Disco Kroger shopping center makeover to be completed in November

A rendering shows what the Buckhead Landing shopping center will look like once completed. Renderings courtesy of Regency Centers

The Disco Kroger’s dancing days may be over, but the Buckhead shopping center where it stood is getting new life with a redeveloped property that is nearly 100% occupied with both old and new tenants.

Anchored by a Publix grocery store and located on Piedmont Road near the Peachtree Road intersection, the revamped U-shaped shopping center is changing its name from Piedmont Peachtree Crossing to Buckhead Landing. It is expected to be fully open by mid-November.

The old shopping center was known for having Atlanta’s first named Kroger store. It got its “Disco” moniker because it was located next to the Limelight dance club, which was open from 1980 to 1987. During that time, the Kroger was known for late-night antics from revelers going shopping after partying next door. According to news reports, the Disco Kroger was in operation for 47 years, opening in 1975 and closing in December 2022.

‘Ripe for redevelopment’

Regency Centers, a Jacksonville, Florida-based shopping center developer, purchased the property from San Antonio-based Equity One Inc. in 2017 when the two companies merged in a deal reportedly worth $5 billion. The Buckhead shopping center, spanning nearly 11 acres, was part of a portfolio of 122 retail and non-retail properties Regency acquired from Equity One.

Nate Smith, Regency’s senior vice president and senior market officer, said Buckhead Landing has only two of 25 tenant spaces left after Omakase Table, a high-end sushi restaurant, signed a lease in April.

He said Buckhead Landing is another example of the commitment Regency has to redevelopments, new developments and acquisitions in an effort to grow. The company owns 21 other shopping centers in metro Atlanta and is the nation’s largest shopping center real estate investment trust, according to its website.

“Looking to improve our assets to be the best in the market, that often requires a recycling of capital,” Smith said, adding Piedmont Peachtree Crossing was “ripe for a redevelopment, because admittedly the development was looking a little tired. The new Publix opportunity provided us the platform to redevelop.”

While a rival grocery store is moving in, Regency is paying tribute to the Disco Kroger by keeping intact the mural painted on the side of the old store’s building.

“We recognize and respect the fact that it is one of the better murals of Atlanta, one of the most recognized murals of Atlanta,” Smith said, adding Publix reps he’s spoken to won’t mind having the new store being called the Disco Publix once it opens.

Buckhead Landing details

Publix will take up 55,000 square feet of space in Buckhead Landing, which will total 151,739 square feet and is slightly smaller than Piedmont Peachtree Crossing was. Smith said the Publix was moved farther west to better align with an entry drive and to accommodate its own design needs. The new shopping center will have 24 less parking spaces than the old one had, in an effort to make Buckhead Landing more pedestrian-friendly with wider sidewalks and more places to sit.

Construction on the new shopping center began in the first quarter of 2023 and work on Publix started in December. Buckhead Landing will have 12 existing tenants and 13 new ones, and all the old tenants have stayed open throughout the construction process, Smith said, calling that part Phase 1.

The second and third phases entail the new tenant spaces opening, with Phase 2 to be completed in August or September and Phase 3, including Publix and possibly the last few signed tenants, opening as late as November, in time for Black Friday sales, he said.

Smith added that 2023 was the most active year for new leases to be signed, with eight being inked then after Publix was announced as the anchor tenant late the previous year. The old tenants that remained include Starbucks, Binders Art Supplies and Frames, and Jamison Shaw Hairdressers.

In addition to Publix, Smith also singled out a few new tenants he’s excited about: Omakase Table, a 12-person restaurant that has a 20-course menu; Burtons Grill and Bar, which is opening its first Georgia location; Golf Galaxy, a golf clothing and equipment store; and Carter’s, a children’s clothing retailer whose headquarters is also in Buckhead.

What’s new and what’s next

When asked what other new developments Regency has had with Buckhead Landing, he said construction is actually three weeks ahead of schedule, “but you jinx it if you say it.” Smith added that all the facades on the project’s north and south sides are done, leaving only the west side, which includes Publix and Golf Galaxy.

“In fact, we just put up our wayfinding and monument signs, with a list and a tool to help people find those tenants,” he said.

While Regency has not announced plans to open or remodel another shopping center in the metro area soon, Smith said the company is also in the midst of redeveloping the Cambridge Square shopping center in Brookhaven, which like Buckhead Landing is replacing a Kroger with a Publix.

“We’ll open seven or eight months after Buckhead Landing opens,” he said.
Smith, who joined Regency 3½ years ago, said he hasn’t heard of anyone objecting to Buckhead Landing. The company made several changes to its design plans three or four years ago when it went through the city of Atlanta’s zoning process, said Kim Shorter, zoning chair for Neighborhood Planning Unit B’s board, which okayed the plans as the first step in city approval. 

Smith said he was not involved with Regency’s talks with the neighborhood until the tail end. One of the changes it made was addressing a pond behind the shopping center that had to comply with the city’s current stormwater codes.

“They actually did a really good job of working with the neighborhood ahead of time,” Shorter said. “The neighborhood president happened to also be a land-use attorney, so they did a very good job of carefully crafting a set of conditions that were both codified through the city’s approval process and also codified by the neighborhood in a private agreement.”

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