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Rally to save Norcross retail landmark falls short | News

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Rally to save Norcross retail landmark falls short
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NORCROSS, GA (WXIA) -- A controversial vote Monday night will allow the demolition of a Gwinnett County community landmark that has been a popular market and gathering place for a generation.

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The Norcross City Council says the city needs the property, despite the protest of all of those who spoke Monday night.

Norcross residents know that part of what makes up the fabric of the city is the shopping plaza and gathering place known as Plaza Latina on Buford Highway.

For the past 20 years, it has been part of the fabric of both the Hispanic and Anglo communities. But the Norcross City Council decided Monday night that the city needs the property for a parking deck and library – so by the end of the year, the market will be no more.

Residents packed the city council meeting, hoping to save Plaza Latina, a mainstay of Norcross commerce – a market and mall that council members and the mayor were saying they do not want to lose, but that they must, for the greater good – as one council member put it.

The owner rejected the city's offer of $1.5 million for the property, so the city will acquire it by eminent domain.

Residents were incredulous. Why destroy an economic generator when the city already owns property just down the street where a parking deck and library could go?

Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson says the city hopes all the displaced merchants will be able to relocate nearby and stay in Norcross and stay together. The city is trying to find another landlord with another building that could serve as a new Plaza Latina.

The vote to take the property by eminent domain was unanimous.

The city expects to go through the condemnation process and begin demolition within six months.

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