This is "Actual Factual Gwinnett," a regular column in which Tyler Estep answers reader questions about Gwinnett happenings and history (like this one about bowling and laser tag coming to Suwanee). Check out the form below to submit your own questions — and enjoy!
Today we explore the wonderful world of abandoned home improvement stores.
Readers Ellen, Debbie and T. Johnson all asked this recently, in some form or fashion: "What are they building at the old Lowe's location on Pleasant Hill Road near Ronald Reagan Parkway?
All y'all are either friends, or folks in the Lilburn area are really dying to know about this. We'll operate under the assumption it's the latter, but don't think I'm not on to you.
For the unfamiliar: There's a former Lowe's store at 733 Pleasant Hill Road — a little less than two miles north of Berkmar High School — that's been empty since way back in 2009. The nearby Zaxby's aside, the 25-acre property is really quite depressing.
Exhibit A, taken back in August:
Gross. Right? But there's good news!
In October, the city of Lilburn granted a renovation permit for the site — and it's for "a $4.7 million improvement," city spokeswoman Nikki Perry said.
That number doesn't even include the money that will be poured into a 40,000-square-foot grocery store that's planned, she said. Or the separate package store that was approved a little while back.
Ohhh nice...tell me more. You got it, friends.
Via Perry, via email:
"In October, permits were issued for a grocery store, retail space, a food court and mercado (which is Spanish for market). These permits were for interior finishes, renovations, and alterations.
The infrastructure and mercado/food court will be constructed first and includes small business spaces on the interior separated by semi-permanent screening. The grocery and 11 proposed tenant spaces facing the parking lot with store fronts (could be restaurants or retail) will be constructed in 2nd/3rd phases and could be built out by others."
It's unclear exactly what the project might look like, or when it could conceivably be finished and open for business. But there's some intrigue here.
Indeed! But wait...didn't you say something about booze, too? Yes, yes I did. Back in October, the Lilburn City Council approved a package store license for "Branded Barrel 1, LLC," which plans to do business from the outparcel in front of the old Lowe's/future "mercado" site.
So yeah. Lots of look forward to Lilburn — including a fancy new City Hall and library complex, if that's more your speed.
— I, Tyler Estep, am a staff writer with the AJC and a Gwinnett County native. To submit “Actual Factual Gwinnett” questions, contact me at email@example.com, @ByTylerEstep on Twitter or via the form below.