New SunTrust Bank branch latest sign of strength of Upper West Side

By David Pendered

The grand opening Friday of a SunTrust Bank branch in a new shopping center underscores the strength of the development trend in the outer reaches of Atlanta’s Upper West Side region – near the Chattahoochee River.

SunTrust at Moores Mill

The SunTrust Bank branch at the Moore Mill shopping center had a soft opening in March and is to celebrate its grand opening on Friday. Credit: David Pendered

Signs still abound of the 60-year-old industrial and warehouse district built along Marietta Boulevard, from the eastern edges of two railroad yards out to the river. The now-shuttered Bolton Road Landfill looms over the western edge of the region. Atlanta’s sprawling R.M. Clayton Water Reclamation Center remains a landmark.

But scattered along the side streets is a growing collection of houses and multifamily developments. A warehouse facing Marietta Boulevard is marked to make way for a retail center.

The Moores Mill shopping center was the first full service retail area to open in the area. It houses shops that provide necessary services for the residential community that’s been taking shape in the region for nearly 20 years.

Edens developed the property. It’s anchored by a Publix grocery of 45,600 square feet, which is flanked by a CVS pharmacy, nail salon, dry cleaner and UPS store. And now, a SunTrust branch bank.

The pace of the neighborhood’s growth is such that SunTrust is providing a full service bank branch to meet the needs of commercial, small business and consumer clients, Scott Stearsman, SunTrust’s executive vice president branch banking market executive for Georgia and Tennessee, said Tuesday.

“We are a purpose-driven company and an important purpose is meeting the client needs where they want to bank with us,” Stearsman said. “We are truly excited to be in the community.”

Publix at Moores Mill

The Publix grocery store anchors the Moores Mill shopping center and is the only full-service market within miles of its location, at the intersection of Moores Mill Road and Marietta Boulevard. Credit: David Pendered

Stearsman said a number of factors came together to make the time right for SunTrust to open what is the first bank within miles of the crossroads of Moores Mill
Road and Marietta Parkway, in either Fulton or Cobb counties.

“We look at a number of factors when looking at branch locations – demographics; growth; retailers; anchors, like grocers – and look at our distribution,” Stearsman said. “We saw this [area] as a gap in services we offer and saw an opportunity to open a branch.”

Edens made a diligent effort to develop the site and the surrounding network of roads and sidewalks. Phase Two of the development includes a planned 345-unit multifamily development.

Edens paid for and developed a 500-foot roadway to facilitate movement in the area. The Atlanta City Council is slated to vote April 16 on legislation to repay the company for the cost, in the amount of $447,000. According to the paper:

  • “WHEREAS, the Upper Westside neighborhood around Bolton Road, Moores Mill Road, Marietta Boulevard and Coronet Way is experiencing a rapid expansion of residential and commercial development; and …
  • “WHEREAS, developer Eden Rock Real Estate Partners provided various transportation improvements including, land acquisition and construction of a new 500-ft roadway to replace Queen Street right-of-way; and
  • “WHEREAS, the City is committed to improving infrastructure to accommodate increasing traffic, and appreciates the service of Eden Rock to provide transportation improvements along the Marietta Boulevard corridor.”
Food desert, Moores Mill Road

This map, with the “grocery” layer activated, shows the long commute from this area to a full service grocery store. File/Credit: David Pendered, mapquest.com

 

Bolton Road Landfill

The Bolton Road Landfill has been closed since May 31, 2011 but still towers over a portion of the Upper West Side near the Chattahoochee River. Credit: David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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