Mayor Kasim Reed Plans Sale of Underground Atlanta

Atlanta Mayor Reed announced on March 19th that the City of Atlanta is in negotiations with CV Underground, the current lease holder, to buy out the remainder of their current 88-year lease, making way for a potential redevelopment of the 12-acre property located in the heart of downtown Atlanta. A unanimous Atlanta City Council vote on Monday authorized a purchase price of up to $8.8 million dollars. A successful sale could result in $8 million annual cost savings.

“The time is right for us to reposition Underground Atlanta and stop the bleeding on our balance sheet,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “With this move, we have the ability to market the property and solicit the best, most innovative ideas to transform it into a vibrant component of downtown. Based on the city’s track record with Ponce City Market, the Lakewood Fairgrounds (now EUE Screen Gems) and Buckhead Atlanta, I am confident we will succeed with Underground.”

Underground Atlanta is owned by the Downtown Development Authority. The goal of the redevelopment is to leverage the property as a catalyst for economic revitalization while minimizing the cost to taxpayers, as was done in the 2010 real estate sale of the City Hall East complex on Ponce de Leon Avenue. Developer Jamestown Properties bought the building from the City for $13.5 million up front with the potential for double that amount based on the success of the redevelopment.

Atlanta’s hospitality and tourism industry generates $11 billion annually. A revitalized Underground Atlanta will complement several new downtown attractions, including the National Center for Civil and Human Rights scheduled to open in May 2014, the College Football Hall of Fame which will open in late 2014 and the new Falcons Stadium which will open in 2017. In January, the NewYork Times featured downtown Atlanta as one of the “52 Places to Go in 2014.”

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