Developer Buys Emory Property in Village

A mockup of the two-story retail space set to replace the former administrative offices of the defunct Emory Center for Science Education pending approval from the DeKalb County Historic Preservation Commission. The building is located at 1397-1399 Oxford Road./Courtesy Blanchard Real Estate

Blanchard Real Estate recently announced plans to develop a two-story retail space in Emory Village. The new development, which is pending approval from the DeKalb County Historic Preservation Commission, would be built at 1397-1399 Oxford Road, located across the street from Emory Barnes and Noble and between Chipotle Mexican Grill and Zoes Kitchen.

Blanchard Real Estate purchased the property June 15 from Emory University with plans to convert the space into a two-story building for retail use, according to DeKalb County records.

The property is under review by the DeKalb County Historic Preservation Commission. The Commission held an initial meeting and heard comments from the public Aug. 21, according to the organization’s meeting minutes. The Commission did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Emory Village Alliance (EVA) submitted a May 1 letter to DeKalb County supporting the redevelopment.

“Based on the design plans presented on May 1, 2017 to the EVA board related to redevelopment of Oxford Road lots 1399 and 1397, EVA affirms that these plans are consistent with EVA’s mission statement,” the letter said.

DeKalb County Planning and Sustainability Department conducted an inspection and determined that the present state of the property is unfit for repurposing as retail use. Department inspection reports listed “poor building conditions, a vast amount of building code violations, structural issues and an absolute inability to re-tenant the existing premises” as reason to demolish and rebuild the structures. The report also noted that the building does not comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

The site was bequeathed to Emory in the 1980s. The University used the space as administrative offices for the Emory College Center for Science Education, according to Emory Senior Director of Operations David Payne. The program ceased December 2015 and the property was vacated in 2016.

Blanchard Real Estate did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Richard Chess contributed reporting.