The city of Brookhaven will buy a shuttered Krystal fast-food restaurant on North Druid Hills Road, near a trailhead of its new Peachtree Creek Greenway, as a “strategic acquisition.”
The $2 million purchase of the Krystal at 2068 North Druid Hills would be made by the city-created but independently operated Brookhaven Development Authority, supported by a $650,000 from the city. The loan was approved by the City Council at its Feb. 11 meeting.
“It is a strategic acquisition for economic development and transit,” said city spokesperson Burke Brennan.
Shirlynn Brownell, the city’s economic development director, also called it a strategic acquisition but did not say what the purpose of the land will be.
The resolution for the loan says “the purchase furthers the City’s ability to influence and manage strategic economic development….” It also highlights the importance of the nearby intersection of North Druid Hills and I-85. On the other side of I-85 from the Krystal site, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University are building massive new complexes.
The resolution says that the “close proximity to the Peachtree Creek Greenway, a model for alternative transportation, community and placemaking, makes this intersection a virtual front door to the city of Brookhaven and the ability of the city and its Development Authority to have a direct say in the look, feel and ambience of this point of entry are crucial to the city’s place in the metropolitan community, the council’s vision for the growth and future of the city, and the strategic development of this economic center for the city.”
During a “Developer’s Day” tour last year, city officials floated a conceptual drawing of an 18-story office tower on that section of North Druid Hills. Such advocates as the We Love BuHi organization have expressed caution about whether redevelopment in the area will help or displace the famously multicultural and affordable Buford Highway corridor, which is paralleled by the Greenway.
The Krystal property is now owned by VEREIT Real Estate, according to the city. The loan to the BDA would come from “unassigned funds” in the city budget and would be repaid in annual installments of $81,250. The BDA is funded by fees from developments it authorizes and enables.
According to a real estate listing, the Krystal was built in 1973. It closed in October 2019, according to the commercial development blog Tomorrow’s News Today.
In January, the Dunwoody-based Krystal corporation filed for Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy.
–John Ruch and Kevin C. Madigan