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Long-time businesses being forced out of Metro Atlanta business corridor

(COBB COUNTY, Ga.) — Many businesses on one of Metro Atlanta’s most beloved town squares say they’re being forced out.

Some of those businesses have been there for decades, but now their time on Marietta Square could be coming to an end.

“Devastated,” said barber Len Thompson, who says he was told his business must leave by April 1. “We had built our whole brand around the square. The thought of having to move off the square was frightening actually.”

Thompson says his business, Lenny’s Hair Salon, will likely find a new home elsewhere on the square, but he says dozens of other businesses will need to find new homes too.

“Some of those people have been in there 20 or 30 years, and they’re being affected and having to leave their space,” said Thompson.

It all began early this year when developer Bridger Properties bought several prominent buildings along Church Street, including several storefronts and the historic warehouses-turned-office-buildings known as Marietta Station.

Then Thompson says Bridger told him and other businesses in the buildings they would need to go.

“There was no option. April 1 was a hard line,” said Thompson.

WSB-TV tracked down Bridger co-founder Merritt Lancaster. He said in a statement: “As a small business ourselves, we understand the importance of a supportive community. We continue to work with new and existing tenants at Marietta Station to create a unique and vibrant experience.”

But Thompson says it’s been a frustrating experience, as he and the other business owners hope their businesses can survive elsewhere.

“It may be a great thing for the city years down the road. It just won’t be a great thing for me or my staff,” said Thompson.

Bridger says they’ll make announcements soon about their plans for the buildings, but tenants say Bridger plans to fill the buildings with new restaurants.

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