Marketing Hickory Lake

New offering memorandum details what the property, Smyrna and the surrounding region have to offer while touting property as a place that “provides a unique opportunity to achieve a successful redevelopment based on its location and community support."

It’s now being marketed as “Smyrna Grove,’’ but what will the former Hickory Lake apartments become?

It was in December 2010 when the completed its purchase of the four-decade old and crime-riddled apartment complex on Windy Hill Road near South Cobb Drive.

To acquire the 47 ½-acre property, the Smyrna Downtown Area Development Corporation (SDADC) issued a $15 million bond. The purchase price was $9.5 million, $4.1 was needed for demolition expenses and the remainder was for related costs.

Critics, including Mayor Max Bacon’s two opponents in November’s election that Bacon won with more than 75-percent of the vote, have been vocal in chastising the city for entering a risky venture using taxpayer money.

Bacon and the city have been steadfast in their action as the mayor again reiterated Tuesday, “It was best what we did.”

Not long after the purchase, Gordon Mortin, the bond underwriter for the city at SDADC, announced that the purchase of Hickory Lake had resulted in an upgrade in the city’s bond rating.

What has taken much longer has been the demolition process. A year after the purchase, the asbestos removal is now complete, but about 20-percent of the buildings that housed the 726-unit apartment complex remain.

Also in place are the sidewalks and roads on the property, although they were originally slated to be removed, as well. They will now stay and Bacon said he recently took Smyrna’s four new city council members on a tour of the property.

“There are a lot of trees and it’s really a beautiful piece of property,’’ Bacon told Patch. ”You know, if we left it as it is, it would be a beautiful park.’’

Of course, a park is not the ultimate goal with the Atlanta brokerage NAI Brannen Goddard marketing the property. Part of those marketing efforts includes the new name, “Smyrna Grove,’’ for Hickory Lake. Also new is a 33-page offering memorandum detailing all that the property, Smyrna and the surrounding region has to offer while touting Smyrna Grove as a place that “provides a unique opportunity to achieve a successful redevelopment based on its location and community support.”

The potential uses listed include, “corporate campus,’’ “mixed-use development,” “shopping center,’’ “medical/hospital,’’ “sportsplex,” “government,’’ or “education.”

Indeed, organizers of the Smyrna Academy of Excellence have made it known that they would like to purchase the property for its school campus, which is slated for a July 2013 opening. Bacon says he would welcome the school, while acknowledging that city has received interest in the property from industrial, manufacturing and hospital companies, too.

Ernie Williams, Stan Williams and Chad Koenig are exclusively marketing the property for NAI Brannen Goddard. Koenig said they have been taking inquiries both from the local and national level.

“The overall interest in the property has been steady,’’ said Koenig, acknowledging that Ernie Williams is one the “top land brokers in Atlanta.”

According to the city, the property’s list price is $17.5 million and NAI Brannon Goddard will be paid a 5-percent commission of the final sales price, once the property sells. That is in line with fees charged by commercial brokers. All expenses, including the marketing materials, are included in their commission.

Said Bacon, “We’re not going to give the property away. Once we get the rest of these buildings down, it’s going to be a very marketable piece of property. We’re going to find a good revenue-producing company for our community, or a company that provides a very needed service for our community. Whatever it is, we’ll find the right fit.”

Hunt Archbold (Editor) December 14, 2011 at 05:00 PM
What would you like see go in at Hickory Lake, er, Smyrna Grove?
Erik Fernald December 15, 2011 at 12:23 PM
I think we have plenty of ball fields, there are plenty right next door behind the publix. There are some on Concord behind the legion, and another in a complex off Ridge rd. We are not in short supply of ball fields. I like ball fields, but there are plenty in this town. What we need is a strong plan, with mixed use of medical, high tech, and retail. A strong high tech sector would draw in fortune 500 companies, increase the tax base, better citizens, and better schools with better parents. Our proximity to 285/ Atlanta and the world's number one airport is a huge draw that we need to let people know about.
Alex December 15, 2011 at 10:33 PM
My question is, did anyone with the city read the brochure before being released? Read it and ask yourself, “How does this brochure help set this piece of land in Smyrna apart from say the same type land for sale in Douglasville, Canton, Duluth, McDonough or Alpharetta?” You can sub in any one of the afore mentioned cities for Smyrna and it would read exactly the same. The brochure does nothing to differentiate this property (or Smyrna) from any of the other large tract properties for sale in the US. Oh sure it says Smyrna has a high average household income (and while the actual average figure is slightly higher, the median figure is a more realistic and reliable number to use), and that Smyrna has lots of green space, and how Smyrna is close to amenities, but what else? Does it mention that Smyrna’s milage rate is the lowest in Cobb Co. and one of the lowest in the Metro Area? Nope. How about mentioning the new opportunity zone or other incentives the city offers? Not mentioned either. What about promoting our police and fire departments? You guessed it, nope. Smyrna has to sell Smyrna just as much as Smyrna is selling “The Grove” if this is going to work. 33 pages total and what, 4-5 on Smyrna? C’mon for a commission of $875k, Smyrna should demand way better than this.
Pam J December 16, 2011 at 02:15 AM
I hate to say this, but I will anyway. If you put some sort of park or ball field there, you are going to have a large portion of the Hispanic population using it.
Erik Fernald December 16, 2011 at 03:42 AM
There is a huge ballpark within walking distance of that entire area and it is underutilized with a ridiculous amount of space, have you looked. It is right behind Publix and it is never at capacity. The day there is a line at this park of people waiting to play, then we can build another one. Obesity? There are no fat people in this town, are there? They never use the park, I never see them there.
Erik Fernald December 16, 2011 at 03:45 AM
I think it may be best if Pam keeps a comment like that to herself. I have no beef with kids that want to play in a park.
Pam J December 16, 2011 at 03:49 AM
Why should I keep my comments to myself? I'm just telling it like I see it. I have lived in Cobb County all my 58 years. I have seen major changes all over. But it's like you commented earlier - there's rarely anybody at the park behind Publix. Why build another one?
Erik Fernald December 16, 2011 at 04:03 AM
My comment was directed at your derisive comment on Hispanics. It seemed unnecessary. Your implication was that all Hispanics are bad people and I thought it was pretty low brow.
K. Davis December 16, 2011 at 01:26 PM
I think that Pam just pointed out the elephant in the room. That's the demographics of that area and needs to taken into consideration when marketing that property. And it needs to be realized by any businesses locating in Smyrna Grove.
K. Davis December 17, 2011 at 02:55 PM
Did some research on Smyrna Grove. Came up with this http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/17198794/Windy-Hill-Rd-Benson-Poole-Rd-Smyrna-GA/ Checked Atlanta Business Chronicle and didn't find any mention of Smyrna Grove.
Pam J December 17, 2011 at 03:18 PM
Thank you. Anybody that knows that area has to acknowlege that there is a large Hispanic population there.
Pam J December 17, 2011 at 03:19 PM
The most interesting point in the ad is that it is a "15 minute drive from downtown Atlanta, yet no congestion." In what world?


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