The Smyrna City Council voted in March to loan the Downtown Smyrna Development Authority up to $275,000 to buy property and the steel skeleton of an abandoned commercial and retail construction project at the intersection of Concord Road and Dunton Street, between South Cobb Drive and Atlanta Road. Councilman Charles “Corkey” Welch, who represents the area, said $250,000 was for buying the property from State Bank and Trust, while another $25,000 is set aside for demolition.
But now a “for sale” sign is back up in front of the site, which was abandoned when funding dried up in 2009, shortly after the economy took a dive. Welch said the city is putting it up for sale again for a couple months to give a developer who wants to finish out the building an opportunity to take it over before it is demolished.
“It may take some work to go back in there and build a building, but it’s not anywhere near a point where it can’t be completed,” said Welch, who is a senior vice president at a Cobb civil engineering firm.
Welch said the building could be completed for either retail or office use.
The city is asking $350,000 for the site, Welch said.
“Everything is negotiable,” he said.
What the city will do with the site if it isn’t purchased in the next two months is “To be determined,” Welch said. The building skeleton would be demolished and the land grassed over, but the city remains undecided whether it would go back on the market for redevelopment or used for something like park space.
Council voted 6-1 on March 5 to offer a resolution of support for the downtown development authority’s purchase of the property, then, after Councilwoman Melleny Pritchett left the chamber, it voted 5-1 for the $275,000 budget amendment. Councilman Wade Lnenicka cast the lone dissenting vote in each case.
Efforts to reach Lnenicka were not successful Thursday.
Alex Backry, a former city staffer and mayoral candidate, said that the city should have kept the property bank owned, so owners would still be required to pay property taxes.
“You’re speculating with taxpayer money,” he said. “They have no plans.”