The Westside Future Fund acquired a neighborhood treasure – known colloquially as the “yellow store” by English Avenue residents – as part of its efforts to help implement the Westside Land Use Framework Plan. The property was previously “Cantrell Sodas and Sundaes”, a soda shop and ice cream parlor located in the heart of the English Avenue neighborhood that served as a central gathering place for residents.
WFF will commemorate the Cantrell Sodas and Sundaes location (formerly 500 Kennedy Street NW) with a plaque dedicated to the former operators, Charles and Louise Cantrell. The family served as advocates for the English Avenue community for over 50 years by serving free food on Thanksgiving and Christmas for the community and providing shelter to numerous residents.
“My parents would be thrilled to see the store they built come back to life as a community gathering place for everyone,” said Larry Cantrell. “I am proud to honor my parents’ legacy and look forward to its future plans.”
The Westside Land Use Framework Plan addresses housing, agriculture, historic preservation, market growth and amenities. Positioned across the street from an agricultural garden, St. Marks Church and community housing within Sub Area 16, the property will fulfill key initiatives in the plan as it relates to diverse retail business growth and community amenities.
“As we work toward a greater inclusiveness and equity across our city, I am pleased that WFF is developing this property to encourage a thriving community in English Avenue,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Centrally positioned at the intersection of Cameron M. Alexander Boulevard and James P. Brawley Drive, the property is one of three locations that English Avenue Neighborhood residents designated in the Westside Land Use Framework Plan for retail development to improve residents’ access to essential goods and services to revitalize the community.
“I am excited to support the revitalization of the historic ‘yellow store’ in English Avenue,” said Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond (Post 1 At-Large). “The Westside Land Use Framework Plan has been grounded in community input and involvement since the beginning, and this positive renewal of the ‘yellow store’ is another example of that resolution.”
“This is a win for the community, and I look forward to working with Westside Future Fund on the redevelopment of the historic ‘yellow store’ in alignment with the interest of the community and the Westside Land Use Framework Plan,” said Atlanta City Councilman Antonio Brown.
To help enhance the security of the Westside, Westside Blue Security Patrol will be operating temporarily out of the property. WFF will work with the English Avenue Neighborhood Association to lead the community in a series of charettes – intensive planning sessions where residents, designers and other partners collaborate on a vision for development – to connect with residents and best determine the future plans for the property including potential uses such as a food cooperative. The meetings will be facilitated by the Atlanta-based firm ADP Urban Planning and Management.
“Our desire is to reignite the energy of the ‘yellow store’ that residents experienced so many years ago and to help revitalize this central location for the community in alignment with the objectives that English Avenue residents voiced in the Westside Land Use Framework Plan,” said John Ahmann, President and CEO of Westside Future Fund.
“The ‘yellow store’ was a symbol of connection and camaraderie, and we want to ensure the community has a voice in how it can best serve English Avenue residents in the future,” said Nicholas Stewart, president of the English Avenue Neighborhood Association.