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At Home resolves contract negotiation issues, headed for Peachtree Mall after all

Texas-based home decor retailer At Home is coming to Peachtree Mall at 3131 Manchester Expressway. Instead of its earlier estimate of opening by October, the chain has said it now will be sometime this winter.
Texas-based home decor retailer At Home is coming to Peachtree Mall at 3131 Manchester Expressway. Instead of its earlier estimate of opening by October, the chain has said it now will be sometime this winter. Columbus

An apparent flurry of re-negotiations between Peachtree Mall and the company that operates the At Home store chain has led to yet another decision reversal by the home furnishings and decor retailer.

At Home — presumably — has decided once again to locate in the Columbus mall at 3131 Manchester Expressway. Instead of October, the month that the Texas-based retailer had previously said it will be coming to the center, it now says its debut should be sometime this coming winter. That would mean — if the project isn’t pulled off the shelf again and their schedule holds up — the opening would be before the end of March.

“Previously, we were in negotiations with the landlord and those (issues) have since been resolved,” Stacey Sullivan, At Home’s director of public relations and corporate communications, said in an email statement to the Ledger-Enquirer. “So we have resumed construction and can confirm our location in Peachtree Mall is expected to open this winter. At Home is excited to expand its Georgia footprint with its (eighth) store in the state opening in Columbus.”

Just two days ago, Sullivan had said the retailer had experienced a change of heart and did not see itself locating there anytime soon.

“At Home will not have presence at Peachtree Mall in Columbus, Ga., in the foreseeable future. As with any retailer, as our real estate plans shift from time to time,” Sullivan said Tuesday via email.

Plano, Texas-based At Home said again Thursday that it will occupy 86,000 square feet of space, which is the size of the former Parisian department store that has been vacant since February 2006. Parisian was closed after Belk Inc. bought that entire chain, with Dillard’s then purchasing the old Parisian space from Belk for $4.4 million and not developing it. Dillard’s, which owns its building at Peachtree Mall, sold the Parisian property to General Growth Properties — the mall’s owner — for $2 million last November.

Contacted Tuesday for comment on At Home, Peachtree Mall general manager Onassis Burress, who is on vacation this week, responded by email that the home store was “scheduled to come” to his shopping center with an opening date “still to be determined.” On Thursday, the manager said he stands by that statement.

A Columbus building permit dated May 31 and listing At Home on it is valued at just under $1.9 million. The permit is good for six months unless an extension is sought and granted from the Columbus Codes and Inspection office.

At this point, the Columbus At Home would become the eighth location in Georgia. The chain has 116 locations in 29 states. Founded in 1979, the company also has been known as Garden Ridge Pottery and simply Garden Ridge. The retailer entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2004, exiting bankruptcy court the following year. The stores were rebranded to At Home in 2014.

(Previous story: At Home superstore backs out of Peachtree Mall with Columbus Macy’s on ‘most at risk’ for closure list)

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