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Smyrna Mayor Hints at Selling Hickory Lake Property in 2014

More than three years after it purchased the crime-riddled apartment complex, the City is still looking to sell the 47.5-acre site that it cost $16 million to buy and tear down the buildings.

More than three years after it purchased the Hickory Lake property, the City is still looking to sell the 47.5-acre site that cost it $16 million to buy and tear down the apartments. Courtesy the City of Smyrna
More than three years after it purchased the Hickory Lake property, the City is still looking to sell the 47.5-acre site that cost it $16 million to buy and tear down the apartments. Courtesy the City of Smyrna
It was in December 2010 when the City of Smyrna completed its purchase of a four-decade old and crime-riddled apartment complex near the intersection of Windy Hill Road and South Cobb Drive.

More than three years later, the City is still looking to sell the 47.5-acre site that cost it $16 million to buy and tear down.

But according to a report over the weekend in The Marietta Daily Journal, the former Hickory Lake Apartments site could be sold in 2014 to the Vinings-based real estate acquisition firm, Southeast Capital Companies, which according to its website, specializes in the development of multi-family, single-family, and mixed-use projects.

The Smyrna Downtown Area Development Corporation issued a bond to purchase the 92-building complex on Old Concord Road and has since paid off $3.4 million, including an $898,631 payment at the beginning of this month.

The next payment is due in August, as if the City maintains its twice-yearly payment schedule through 2035, it would spend approximately $32 million, including principal and interest, to rid itself of the problematic property that was a continual source of police and drug activity.

But now Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon tells the MDJ the city is “on track” to sell the property for $13 million, which is $4.5 million less than what it was listed for in late 2011 when the City began seeking a buyer for the renamed, Smyrna Grove

If it is sold for that price, the Atlanta brokerage firm NAI Brannen Goddard that is marketing the property would receive a 5 percent commission totaling about $650,000. So, for now, that’s roughly a $3.65 million loss, which critics say is much too much as Hickory Lake remains a risky venture using taxpayer money.

Bacon and proponents of the purchasing of Hickory Lake, however, contend it was the right thing to do for the long-term betterment of the northern portion of Smyrna and to help shape Smyrna’s destiny. 

Three-plus years after the City purchased the Hickory Lake property, where do you stand on the decision? Let us know in the comment section below.


Brian February 13, 2014 at 10:27 PM
userbronco: You can't clean up a dense high poverty extremely low income area by adding cops. If you've ever managed personell, you'd know those costs add up quickly. It detracts from services elsewhere in the city. Plus, Hickory Lakes also had a negative impact on surrounding properties, dragged down their value, increased their crime, so the impact wasn't isolated to just the Hickory Lakes apartment complex. Old, dilapidated mis-managed low income apartments are not much different than housing projects. And you know cities have been paying to tear those down. And when it comes to apartments, Marietta also just paid a lot to tear down apartments on Franklin Rd. So Smyrna isn't alone. Additionally, have you thought about the tax income that will be brought in? It'll pay itself back over the next decade. The value will probably be much higher than the tax value of Hickory Lakes. It'll increase taxes brought in from neighboring properties. It'll also increase taxes for the schools.
Observer February 14, 2014 at 01:18 PM
Brian, even the mayor admitted that the pay back period was going to take longer than 10 years, more on the time frame of almost 40 years.
Brian February 24, 2014 at 02:34 PM
Observer: The mayor has to use conservative estimates. Tearing that place out is like tearing out housing projects. It'll have unexpected pay-back with the decrease in crime and transients, increase in surrounding value, etc.
Observer February 24, 2014 at 03:28 PM
"Unexpected pay-back". Oooooh, unicorn rides for everyone! Yay!

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