ATLANTA (May 30, 2008) - When the new Home Depot opened in Atlanta’s tony Buckhead community in April 2006, it was easy to spot. The store sits at the busy intersection of Piedmont Road and Sidney Marcus Boulevard, and thousands of cars passed it each day.
By the time I started my job at Home Depot corporate with a three-day stint at the Buckhead store in June 2006, part of a parking garage had been erected on the Piedmont side of the Home Depot. But the store remained highly visible.
By the time I left Home Depot for Edelman, the Buckhead store was nowhere in sight of people driving on busy Piedmont and only a blur to drivers on Sidney Marcus who happen to look to the left or right for a split second and catch the store between buildings.
So, what happened? The mixed-use development that Home Depot is a part of has enveloped the store. Specifically, apartments - ironically called Vista Lindbergh - have enveloped the Home Depot store. It always was part of the master plan to wrap residential space around the retail at Lindbergh Plaza, but I’m sure Home Depot real estate executives couldn’t have envisioned that its store would be blanketed – save for a corner that sticks out on a side street.
The Home Depot store has replaced the former Sidney Marcus store, which was much larger and easier to see from the street and from busy Georgia 400. Home Depot felt compelled to grab the new spot after the original plans for the Lindbergh Plaza redevelopment included a Lowe’s store. Home Depot said, “Not in My Back Yard.”
And so, Home Depot ended up with a store with low visibility – and with a still empty shell in the same shopping center.
For retailers, Home Depot’s story shows that while being part of a mixed-use community has an upside (additional traffic/a built-in customer base), it also has a potential downside.