Stonecrest leaders trying to create new 'Black Wall Street'

Stonecrest leaders are working to make the city an entrepreneurial hub with a new marketplace that could open as soon as May.

Developers there want to see a market like Ponce or Krog filled with Black- and women-owned businesses.

Right now, the former Target on Mall Parkway stands as a largely empty and boarded-up building, but Stonecrest leaders envision a modern-day "Black Wall Street" with six to seven restaurants and a banquet space that would hold about 200 people.

If all goes according to plan, this former Stonecrest Target will soon be transformed into a market like Krog Street and Ponce.

"We're expecting a soft launch by Memorial Day this year," city Economic and Development Director Clarence Boone said.

The space would house several restaurants of varying sizes, and up to 100 boutique-style shopping experiences.

"What we're looking for is businesses that are going to come and be successful," Boone said.

Developer Bill Allen hopes it'll become a modern-day "Black Wall Street," opening on the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre.

Violence in Oklahoma erupted on May 31 and June 1 in 1921, when a white mob killed an estimated 300 people and wounded 800 while burning 30 blocks of Black-owned businesses and homes and neighborhood churches in the Greenwood neighborhood, better known locally as "Black Wall Street." Planes were even used to drop projectiles on the area, burning it to the ground.

Tulsa and the race massacre received new national interest over the past summer and will be several memorials and events have been planned in Oklahoma and across the country to mark the centennial of the atrocity. That's why project leaders said they're dedicated to bringing Black-owned businesses to the future market.

"[Allen's] philosophy is to bring opportunities for people of color and women to grow their business globally and nationally but there is no one excluded from the program," Boone explained.

This is the latest effort to expand Stonecrest. Plans for the Atlanta Sports City Project halted in 2019, but Boone said this initiative is different.

"We have someone who has already purchased the land, who already has a plan in place for development and the very first phase is the new Black Wall Street marketplace," he said.

Interested entrepreneurs should reach out to the city of Stonecrest itself. The economic and development director says he’s already fielded several calls from business owners who are ready to stake a claim at the property.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

WATCH: FOX 5 Atlanta live news coverage


Sign up for FOX 5 email alerts

Download the FOX 5 Atlanta app for breaking news and weather alerts.