Atlanta City Councilmember Byron Amos said Walmart’s corporate office has not made a decision to permanently close its Vine City store after an alleged fire forced it to close last month.

The Vine City Walmart on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive announced it was temporarily closing on Dec. 24. Days later, the popular Walmart on Howell Mill Road said it was closing temporarily after an alleged arsonist set fire inside the store.

Amos, whose district includes Vine City, is seeking to calm residents’ fears that the Vine City Walmart at 835 MLK Jr. Drive will permanently close. If the store closes, residents in the Historic Westside community near Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be left without a nearby grocery and retail store. The store also employed hundreds.

“Recently, there has been an increase in speculation regarding the ongoing concerns with the temporary closing of the Walmart location in Vine City on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive,” Amos said in a written statement.

“I have maintained ongoing communication with Walmart corporate and store leadership. At this moment, Walmart has not made a decision on the next steps for the location. As of now, information related to the store closure are only rumors,” Amos said.

Amos said his office is working with Walmart Inc. to “plan the next possible course for the store.”

“I recognize the deep void that the temporary closure has left in the community. I am committed to working with Walmart, NPU-L, and members of the community to find a successful resolution to this ongoing store closure,” Amos said.

A request for comment from Walmart Inc. about the two stores was not immediately returned.

The Vine City Walmart Supercenter announced Dec. 24 on its Facebook page it was closing temporarily. The announcement also said its pharmacy prescriptions would be transferred to the Walmart store at 1801 Howell Mill Road. Days later, an alleged arsonist set fire to the Howell Mill Road Walmart, and that store also remains “temporarily closed,” according to its Facebook page.

On Jan. 3, the Vine City Walmart said on its Facebook page that “while the store remains closed the, the pharmacy will be serving customers curbside daily from 9 a.m.-5pm for all your pharmacy needs. Please use the entrance near Chick-fil-A and follow the signs to curbside pickup and drop-off.”

The Vine City Walmart opened in 2013. It was touted as a triumph by the city of Atlanta as part of the revitalization of the underserved Historic Westside and the Atlanta University Center communities of Vine City and English Avenue. 

Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.