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Firestone at Lakeshore Mall gets Gainesville City Council approval
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A Firestone Complete Auto Care is proposed again at Lakeshore Mall, but this time on mall property, not across from it - photo by Jeff Gill

Update, March 3: The Gainesville City Council unanimously approved a Firestone Complete Auto Care at Lakeshore Mall on Tuesday, March 3.

Update, Feb. 11: A Firestone Complete Auto Care proposed at Lakeshore Mall was recommended for approval Tuesday, Feb. 11, by the Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board.

Original story: Gainesville’s planning staff is recommending approval of a Firestone Complete Auto Care proposed at Lakeshore Mall.

Palmetto Capital Group is seeking a special use permit for the 5,700-square-foot, seven-bay tire store, which would be in a parking lot near the mall’s Dawsonville Highway entrance.

The store would “provide a valuable service” to customers in the area, states a letter that’s part of Palmetto Capital Group’s request.

“Primary access will be from the existing mall entrance that connects to Dawsonville Highway,” the letter says.

The parking lot is near the mall’s former Sears store, which closed last year.

The request is set to go before the Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board Tuesday, Feb. 11.

Firestone has a long history at Lakeshore.

It had a longtime store on the Pearl Nix Parkway side of the mall until it was torn down in 2013.

Then, in 2018, Firestone was part of a commercial development proposed on the site of the Gainesville Masonic Lodge, across the road from the mall.

The proposal, calling for a building with retail and restaurants, including one with a drive-thru, was later withdrawn. The applicant in that proposal was REB Land Development LLC.

At the time, Ron Farmer, president of the Masonic Lodge, said the lodge was planning to relocate, and the group was in favor of the rezoning from residential to general business for the development.

However, some residents of the Lakeshore Heights subdivision had expressed concerns about traffic and safety. Drive-thru restaurants create a high volume of traffic, sometimes at late hours, and the Dawsonville Highway area already has a traffic problem, they said.

Firestone also is looking to build a 5,700-square-foot store off Winder Highway/Ga. 53 in Oakwood near the Publix-anchored Robson Crossing shopping center. The store was approved by the Oakwood City Council earlier this month.

Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board

What: Proposed Firestone store at Lakeshore Mall

When: 5:30 p.m. Feb. 11

Where: Public Safety Complex, 701 Queen City Parkway