New Black Wall Street Market in Georgia Delays Grand Opening by Nearly Two Months

A marketplace highlighting Black-owned businesses in south DeKalb County delayed its grand opening, citing the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases.

The New Black Wall Street Market, which is named after the Oklahoma business district that was the site of a massacre a century ago, will hold its grand opening Oct. 30 and 31. The developer was previously aiming for Labor Day weekend.

Philanthropist and businessman Lecester “Bill” Allen, the project’s owner and developer, said he envisions the property becoming a thriving marketplace comparable to Ponce City Market or Krog Street Market. The ambitious development aims to foster more than 100 minority- and women-owned businesses in its 125,000-square-foot building, which is located near the Mall at Stonecrest.

In a Facebook post, Allen said he delayed the grand opening due to the increase in COVID-19 cases, primarily spurred by the proliferation of the Delta variant. The DeKalb Board of Health reported a 31% increase in cases during the first two weeks of August. About 47% of DeKalb residents have been fully vaccinated.

Allen also said the delay would allow merchants who plan to lease space in the marketplace to have more time to build their shops. Any fees vendors paid to lease marketplace space have been refunded, the post said.

Matt Hampton, Allen’s spokesman, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday that they’ll use the extra two months to slowly and safely get vendors into the building. He said about 90 vendors have signed up to lease one of the marketplace’s 118 spots.

“Now we’re getting to the point where we need to push people into the building,” he said. “We’re going to use the next 60 days to get merchants in place, get signs up and get businesses in place.”

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SOURCE: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Zachary Hansen

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