A property originally intended to be a retail center at Dunton Street and Concord Road but containing only the 15,000-square-foot steel shell of an unfinished building is close to being purchased by a private developer. The original developer had been caught off guard by the Great Recession and was not able to finish the building before it was placed in foreclosure.
Atlanta-based Peacock Partners plans to buy the property after a 30-day review period using the existing steel frame to construct a medical office housing a pediatric dentist and other doctors.
The city of Smyrna bought the property at 1511 Concord Road near Dunton Street several years ago and is selling it for $350,000, a profit of $100,000. About $25,000 was set aside to raze the structure but that was never done.
It wasn’t purchased with the intention of redevelopment, said Councilman Corkey Welch, who represents the area.
“We really didn’t purchase it as an investment,” Welch said.
The property was overgrown and presented safety concerns with the steel frame left unprotected and elevator shafts exposed. Welch says the city didn’t know what it would eventually become but knew it couldn’t stay in that condition.
Mayor Max Bacon said the intention was to knock down the frame and turn the property into a park or other recreation area.
But interested buyers convinced the city to put it on the market.
City officials have said purchasing private property helps control Smyrna’s destiny.
“We’re not in the real estate business,” Bacon said.
Still, the city and Downtown Smyrna Development Authority narrowed down the list of potential buyers to two: Peacock Partnership and Goddard School. Other buyers had suggested uses like a preschool or day care.
They liked Peacock Partnership’s vision.
“I think it’s going to be a big boost for that corridor,” Bacon said.
“I’m very excited about it,” Welch said. “I think this type of business will be great for that neighborhood.”
He says they’ll be “good neighbors” and traffic from patients going to and from the building won’t affect motorists in the residential neighborhood behind the property.
Other properties remain in limbo
Smyrna is still trying to find a buyer for several other properties that remain off of the tax rolls and in the city’s possession.
About 48 acres sits empty where Hickory Lake apartments once stood. A group of elected leaders, residents and city employees, called the Smyrna Grove Redevelopment Task Force, plan to report to the mayor this month on potential uses of the site. The apartment complex was purchased for $9.5 million and razed for an additional $3.3 million in an effort to improve Windy Hill Road.
Another 6.3 acres representing 22 parcels on Concord Road were purchased by the city between 2007 and 2011 for improving the road. This time, though, the money for the $5.75 million purchase came from special purpose local option sales tax funds.
The city has discussed some redevelopment options with a few developers but no offers have been accepted.