Several Atlanta subway Walmarts that caught fire have either reopened or are in the process of being repaired. But MLK Jr. Dr. NW’s shop is on board.
Atlanta — In March 2012, there was a building of excitement in Vine City’s historic Westside Village. At the time, Mayor Kassim Reed, along with two city council members and Walmart representatives, built a new Walmart Supercenter at his 825 MLK Jr. Dr. NW in Atlanta.
The property was empty at the time, but once housed Publix. At the time, 11Alive reported that there were only five small grocery stores in the immediate vicinity, with more snacks and ready meals and less fresh fruit and vegetables. Ivory Young, then a member of the Atlanta City Council, spoke about the importance of having this Walmart in your neighborhood.
“Our priority is to make fresh food and produce accessible and appreciable for seniors and families across this community,” Young explained.
USDA data doesn’t prove Vine City is a food desert, but people who live in the area say they “absolutely” live there, including City Councilman Young in 2012.
Walmart opened in January 2013 and has been in business ever since. However, in May 2022, a fire broke out in the building, and the store was forced to close. The next day, we partially reopened the store and offered pharmacy customers curbside his pick-up until our employees were able to make repairs and fully reopen this store.
The Atlanta Fire Department and police were recalled to the store after an intentional fire occurred just before Christmas 2022. On December 24th, the store posted on his Facebook page: All pharmacy prescriptions will be forwarded to your nearest local Walmart: 1801 Howell Mill Road NW Atlanta, Georgia 30318.
Just days after posting, a fire broke out at a Walmart on Howell Mill Road. Atlanta police and fire departments responded to a fire in the clothing section on December 28th. The store was temporarily closed. On January 13, 2023, the store posted on his Facebook page: Center Dr in Atlanta, GA for service. thank you!”
11Alive stopped by the store on January 16th to see the work being done to reopen the store hopefully soon. But when 11Alive stopped by the store on MLK. Jr. Dr. NW, the entrance was boarded up and there was no sign of work being done.
11Alive drove to Cascade’s location, where customers from both stores are being sent. It’s about a 15 minute drive from Vince City, but there was no traffic on Monday. It’s about a 20 mile trip from the Howell Mill Road location. One thing to point out is that next to Walmart on Howell Mill Road is Kroger, the closest grocery store to his MLK that 11Alive found. The Jr. Dr. NW location is 3 miles away on Donnelly Avenue SW.
A quick Google search shows that the Howell Mill Road store is ‘temporarily closed’, but a search for the Vine City location shows ‘closed’ and many people in the area I am wondering about the future of the store.
Atlanta City Councilman Byron Amos issued the following statement:
Recently, there has been growing speculation about ongoing concerns that a Walmart store in Vine City on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive is temporarily closed. I have maintained ongoing communication with Walmart business and store management. At this time, Walmart has not made a decision on the next steps for the location. My office is working with his Walmart Inc. to plan the store’s next possible course. We recognize the deep void that the temporary closure has left the community. I am committed to working with Walmart, NPU-L, and members of the community to find a successful solution to this ongoing store closure.
11Alive reached out to Walmart on Monday afternoon, but has yet to hear back from them for an update on the locations of both stores. As it was a holiday, we were unable to meet our request.