Almost four years later, city officials are still looking to unload the 47-acre site at the intersection of Old Concord and Windy Hill roads.
The now-vacant site cost the city $16 million to purchase and tear down. Of that amount, about $3.4 million has been paid.
Under the current payment schedule, when all is said and done, the city will have paid $15.9 million on principal alone and another $16.2 million on just interest, totaling $32 million.
On Feb. 1, the city paid $898,631 toward the purchase and interest on the bond that underwrote the sale. Another $473,402 is due Aug. 1 in interest alone on the debt.
The city is scheduled to make two payments each year until 2035: one on principal and interest and another on interest alone.
Payments are being made to Birmingham-based Regions Financial Corp.
Officials have said the property was purchased with the intent of controlling Smyrna’s destiny.
Potential buyer in line
The Smyrna Downtown Area Development Corp. met Tuesday to discuss the sale of the property, but no official action has been taken since October when the City Council tabled a resolution supporting the downtown group’s intention to sell the property for $13 million, said Mayor Max Bacon.
Vinings-based Southeast Capital Companies, the buyer considered by the city, is a real estate acquisition firm that specializes in development of multi-family single-family, and mixed-use projects, according to its website.
A $13 million sale would mean a $3 million loss on the property the city has spent $16 million purchasing and razing.
That doesn’t account for the millions of interest the city is paying or the 5 percent commission the city’s Realtor, NAI Brannen Goddard, stands to receive, which would be $650,000 on a $13 million sale.
“We’re still on track to sell the property it looks like,” Bacon said.
Bacon said he hopes to close on the sale this year but the potential buyer is taking time to carefully consider the purchase and conduct surveys.
Councilman Wade Lnenicka spearheaded a committee appointed by the mayor that was responsible for finding potential developers for the site.
Lnenicka was the sole opposing vote on the council in 2010 when the decision was made to buy the apartment complex.
He remains cautious of the expense to the city.
“My job was to get the property off the city’s books in the best and fastest way possible without hurting the city,” Lnenicka said. “At some point we’ll have to make some decisions about that but I don’t think that’s anytime soon.”
Other properties still on the books
More than $20.1 million of taxpayers’ money has been spent in the last five years by the city purchasing private property for redevelopment.
Smyrna Elementary School was once a 144-unit apartment complex called Smyrna Commons before it was purchased by the city.
The Smyrna Downtown Area Development Corp. spent $4.6 million for the property that also provides public recreation space. Another $2.5 million in renovations was also spent before the city knew about the school board’s interest in turning the site into a new school.
A property, intended to be a retail center at Dunton Street and Concord Road but containing only the 15,000-square-foot steel frame of a building that was never finished, was sold by the city for a $100,000 profit.
About 6.3 acres representing 22 parcels on Concord Road were purchased by the city between 2007 and 2011 to improve the road. This time, though, the money for the $5.75 million purchase came from special purpose local option sales tax funds.