Chicago-based firm gets Franklin Road contract
by Nikki Wiley
December 13, 2013 12:05 AM | 2789 views | 2 2 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — A real estate consultant got the go-ahead Wednesday night to start mining the Franklin Road area for distressed properties and to begin courting potential buyers under a $68 million redevelopment project funded by bond debt.

Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle was awarded the contract with a unanimous vote out of the seven companies that submitted bids. It will serve as the city’s Franklin Road real estate expert at the recommendation of Beth Sessoms, the city’s development manager.

The city will buy and raze aging apartment complexes, and potentially some other structures, attempting to entice developers to revitalize the corridor.

Jones Lang LaSalle representatives told the Marietta City Council at a work session last month it hopes to see new buildings under construction along the corridor within two years.

It’s the first step in getting the redevelopment project underway after voters gave the city permission in November to raise property taxes by up to 2 mills to fund a massive redevelopment project along Franklin Road.

Jones Lang LaSalle isn’t a city employee but will work under a contract being paid hourly for some services and a 3 percent commission on others. There is no set fee for what the company will be paid.

After spending two months carefully wording the document, the City Council also voted Wednesday, with Councilman Philip Goldstein abstaining, to approve a conflict of interest affidavit. Council members will have the option to sign the proclamation, proposed by Councilman Jim King, stating they are not in business with Jones Lang LaSalle and do not stand to receive any financial gain from Franklin Road projects.

Councilman: Full $68M unnecessary

Prices have already started to rise along Franklin Road following the passage of the bond referendum and the announcement the Atlanta Braves plan to put their new stadium just a few miles away in the Cumberland area.

Last month, the council voted to enter into a contract to purchase the 348-unit, 24.32-acre Flagstone Village Apartments from Atlanta-based TriTex Real Estate Advisors Inc. at a cost of $12 million.

That price was more than 50 percent, or $4 million, more than the 386-unit, 25.2-acre Woodlands Park complex placed under contract in late September for $7.9 million.

The Council hopes to close on those properties by the end of the month.

Though the City Council voted last month to issue the full amount of the $68 million bond, Goldstein questions if that’s responsible and says the city may end up overpaying for property just to use the money it has borrowed.

When Goldstein brought up his concerns at a Monday works session, his colleagues on the council disagreed and opted not to decrease the amount of the bond.

“We’ve been out there looking at buying complexes, we have two under contract, there are some that the owners have no interest in selling,” Goldstein said. “There’s a point in time where unless we way overpay for a piece of property … my concern is that we may not reach the full $68 million, and if we don’t reach the full $68 million, we’ve borrowed that money for nine years before we can pay off a portion of those bonds and we have to pay interest for that time.”

Condemnation needed for road project

Council also voted unanimously Monday to use eminent domain — condemning private property for public use — to acquire rights-of-way for a widening project on Franklin Road. The property to be acquired is at 659 Franklin Road.

City Attorney Doug Haynie said the widening project has “nothing to do with the apartment purchases,” even though the road improvements will extend from Twin Brooks Drive to the Woodlands Park complex the city has under contract.

It’s a “friendly condemnation,” said city engineer Jim Wilgus, and follows the death of the property’s owner that left the land without a clear titleholder.

The property will cost the city $525 and will be paid for from the 2011 special purpose local option sales tax fund. The road improvements are funded through a $3 million Livable Centers Initiative awarded by the Atlanta Regional Commission.

“It basically extends what we’ve already got there for another half mile,” Wilgus said.

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Diamond Jim
December 13, 2013
Somebody please 'splain to me why contracts, funded by local taxpayers, keep going to out of state companies....this one to the Corruption Capital of the US! I can't believe there are no real estate re-development firms here in Georgia who are capable of doing just as good a job at just as low--or lower--cost. Are we going to see a bunch of cost overruns and renegotiated billings with this project?? find the statement that "There is no set fee for what the company will be paid" very troubling.

December 13, 2013
Jobs for Yankee’s program is up and running people from Chicago always have a nick for getting things down just the campaigner and thief of America. Bet some good stories come out of all this. You low information votes in Marietta sure keep good mismanagement going; it’s really going to help sell news copy as well I’m sure this firm has access to millions of section eight people they can bring in here just like Kennesaw.
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