Jan 27, 2023 - Business

Ponce Krispy Kreme design gets cool reception from some urbanists

krispy kreme

The rendering of the Krispy Kreme store that will be rebuilt on Ponce De Leon Avenue in Atlanta. Credit: Krispy Kreme

Former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal had Atlanta buzzing this week with news that he and Krispy Kreme will rebuild the popular doughnut shop on Ponce De Leon Avenue. But some say the store's design leaves much to be desired.

Driving the news: The company announced Tuesday that it will bring back the shop, nearly two years after a fire destroyed it.

  • The location, which will be around 4,000 square feet, will open in the summer, the company said.
  • Plans call for the shop to feature an interior mural and the refurbished Krispy Kreme heritage sign that dates back to the 1960s.

Why it matters: Ain't nothing like glazed doughnuts when that "Hot Now" sign comes on.

What they're saying: Shaq, who is part owner of the location, said on his Facebook page that the shop would "bounce back better than ever in Atlanta."

  • "Can't wait to turn on the Hot Light at our brand-new Ponce shop this summer," he said.

The big picture: The news comes amid plans by Portman Holdings to redevelop an older stretch of bars and nightlife spots east of Krispy Kreme along the thoroughfare near Ponce City Market.

Of note: The Ponce Krispy Kreme location, which opened in 1965, occupies a special place in Atlanta's history. In April 1968, it donated 150 dozen doughnuts to help feed mourners who came to Atlanta for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral.

Yes, but: A few people took to Twitter to criticize the design of the revamped Krispy Kreme.

  • One said it was a "waste of precious real estate," and that the company should include a higher-density housing component to the project.
  • Another Twitter user surmised that Krispy Kreme is using its existing footprint because it "understandably wanted no parts in the rezoning or permitting process."

Yes, and: Darin Givens, co-founder of ThreadATL, an urbanism advocacy group, told Axios he immediately thought of better ways to use the property than to rebuild a "suburban style store" similar to its previous rendition.

  • He said there are examples all over the United States where Krispy Kreme locations are housed on the ground floor of apartments or office buildings.
  • At the bare minimum, Givens told Axios, Krispy Kreme should construct the store closer to the sidewalk and place the parking at the back.

The intrigue: Givens says Atlanta Planning Department staffers could reach out to developers and encourage them to construct something they and the city "can be proud of."

  • "Every time we're building something new on one of these properties, I think we need to be thinking, 'How can we do better?'" he said. "'How can we better make this land use supportive of walking and biking and transit use?'"

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