The city recently issued a building permit for a Dollar General-owned store on the first floor of a Downtown luxury apartment complex

UPDATE:

Alex Marsh, vice president of real estate firm the Robert Weiler Company, called to clarify that while Dollar General is the parent company of the store that will occupy the first-floor retail space at Highpoint on Columbus Commons, the store itself will be branded under Dollar General's DGX concept, which has been introduced in Nashville, Cleveland and elsewhere.

"[Dollar General] approached us. ... At first we were a little hesitant, but then we visited the Nashville store and saw how nice it was, and we made sure the word “Dollar” wasn’t used on the signage because we didn’t want it to appear to be a dollar store," Marsh said. "It’ll all be under the DGX branding."

Marsh said the DGX concept is different from a traditional Dollar General and more of a mini grocer, with a health and beauty section, fresh foods, vegetables, frozen and refrigerated food offerings, pet supplies, candy, snacks, paper products and home cleaning supplies.

"We have a large investment in that property, so we wanted to make sure it was going to appeal to the nice apartments above and also be a good economic driver for the rest of the retail," Marsh said. "They’ve got a lot of fresh produce, grab and go food, coffee stations — some of the basic needs that a lot of the young professionals living down there would need."

In an emailed statement, Dollar General said it expects the approximately 4,600-square-foot DGX store to open at 166 S. High St. in "early winter 2019." 

Dollar General opened its first DGX store in Nashville in 2016, and the Cleveland DGX opened in June of this year.

Alive's original post is below. 

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The tagline for Highpoint on Columbus Commons is “Upscale Living. Downtown.” On its website, the South High Street apartment complex promises to provide “the space you need and the style and luxury you’ve always wanted. … We feel confident that you’ll love the mix of urban and luxury lifestyles that converge here.”

But a recent building permit below Highpoint doesn’t exactly scream “luxury.” Yesterday, the city’s zoning department issued a permit for the interior remodel of a first floor space at 166 S. High St. for a new Dollar General store.

Ten years ago, when construction crews began demolishing City Center mall to make way for the green space of Columbus Commons and Downtown apartments, the hope was also to replace some of the mall’s stores with new retail. That grand vision certainly didn’t include dollar stores, but the Columbus Commons area has not been immune to the ongoing challenge of filling empty storefronts Downtown.

Dollar stores, though, can be particularly problematic. Dollar General and Family Dollar are often accused of preying on distressed urban and rural neighborhoods, as Alive reported in an April cover story.

“In small towns and urban towns alike, dollar stores are triggering the closure of grocery stores, eliminating jobs and further eroding the prospects of the vulnerable communities they target,” noted nonprofit advocacy group the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in a December report.

As Downtown braces for a new Dollar General, revisit Erica Thompson’s feature to learn more about the controversial role of dollar stores in the retail landscape.