Shoppers eager to experience a re-imagined Black Wall Street will have to wait another few weeks. The grand opening of the New Black Wall Street Market has been delayed due to a rise in COVID cases, according to the developers.
The New Black Wall Street Market in Stonecrest, Georgia, sits across from Stonecrest Mall occupying a 125,000 square-foot former Super Target building on 13 acres. The concept was created by real estate developer Lecester Allen to open in the same year the nation marked the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre that left mass destruction of lives and property in the original Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“We knew right now was the time to begin moving forward on Mr. Allen’s vision to create a New Black Wall Street, not only market but an international village that has numbers of young African-American businesses that are growing and being developed,” New Black Wall Street Market spokesman Matthew Hampton said. “So we are in the middle of doing a big multi-year billion dollar development in the city of Stonecrest.”
Hampton says the grand opening, originally scheduled for Labor Day weekend, was pushed back to the end of October because of the increase in COVID cases.
As of Sept. 1, 2021, the Georgia Department of Public Health reports DeKalb County, the suburban Atlanta county where Stonecrest is situated, has 69,668 confirmed COVID cases. Nearby Cobb County has 73,805 confirmed cases, while Fulton County and Gwinnett County, also in metro Atlanta, have 99,111 and 98,039 cases, respectively.
“Safety was placed first. The safety of our customers, the safety of our merchants, and the safety of our community so we knew the responsible thing to do was to wait and push our plans back even though we were ready to get started. We also wanted to make sure our merchants had time to get into their spaces and get their signage up and make sure we can give folks a first-class experience when they come into the New Black Wall Street Market,” Hampton added.
Following the announcement of the delay on Aug. 24, 2021, eager would-be shoppers expressed a bit of frustration with the delayed opening on the New Black Wall Street Market Facebook page.
When asked if the New Black Wall Street Market opening will see more delays if COVID cases continue to rise, Hampton was noncommittal, saying he “hopes not” but public safety is the company’s top concern.
Trinity Ross, 22, the owner Trinity’s Organics says she’s OK with the delayed opening in the name of safety.
“Safety was placed first. The safety of our customers, the safety of our merchants, and the safety of our community so we knew the responsible thing to do was to wait and push our plans back even though we were ready to get started,” said Ross.
Ross has been in business since 2018 selling organic soap products. She participated in the pop-up shop event the New black Wall Street Market hosted in May, and her previous success gives her hope business will only increase.
“Both pop-up shop events, I met thousands of people and we’ve had a lot of return customers because of it. So, dang, if we were out there for only a day imagine what it it’s going to be like operating seven days a week,” said Ross.
Hampton says the building will have 118 retail spaces, 17 food and beverage spaces, a bakery, a gourmet grocery store, gift shop and an art gallery.
Various parts of the building are named after historic Black figures such as Madam C.J. Walker and A.G. Gaston.
Hampton is enthusiastic about what the retail complex will offer. “We hope and we know through our awesome merchant community, we’ll give people a real 360 experience where you can get great entertainment, great food, you can buy some great products and you can be a part of this movement to support Black businesses in this country,” he said.
The New Black Wall Street Market is expected to be fully operation by Oct. 31.