In a 6-1 Vote, Mayor and City Council decide to purchase several parcels equating ~15 acres of the “TPA Lakes” and ~5 acres of land for a “passive park”. The scenic vertical park has sidewalks around the retention ponds. One parcel 1.3 acres is not adjacent to the others, and is north, across another street. All highlighted in green, below.
The lone descenting vote was Councilwoman Stephanie Endres. She stated the need to review and approve the Parks and Rec Plan the city paid thousands of dollars for and have not yet discussed. She would have preferred it be tabled till the Parks plan is finalized. The seller, Tech Park Atlanta (TPA) requested a quick closing, 4 days from the council vote and received their asking price.
According to Fulton County Property Records, all parcels purchased are Flood Plain. The City documents did not include this information, but stated that “the appraisal considered “useable” in terms of commercially useable. The city can use portions of stream buffer and lakes as well.”
City Manager Warren Hutmacher thought this purchase would be a good park and some of the lake area could be converted to land. The cost of doing so was not discussed. He also stated this could be an event and festival location that could hold up to 11,000 people. There was no Discussion of parking for the park or for large events during his presentation either.
This purchase falls in line with what the Urban Design consultants envisioned. Except within the UDA plan for park space, the largest parcel 5.7 acres (Blue Square) was Not purchased by the City. It is owned by the Aga Khan Foundation.
TPA bought that parcel in 2004 for $433k, and during the recession in 2009 sold it for $2.2 million, more than 5x the previous sale price, to a group founded by Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims. This parcel is not in the flood plain, and remains undeveloped. In 2009, was rezoned for an Islamic Facility.
Within the UDA Plans, Aga Khan’s parcel is a sports field and a bridge over the retention pond is connecting Findley Rd through to Lakefield Dr and JC Parkway. Will the City purchase Aga Khan’s land to expand the park with open land and build a bridge? Or will the owners develop an Islamic Facility as they petitioned and were granted?
Currently, the City is in the process of adding another traffic light at Findley Rd & 141. This would be of benefit for these prospective plans.
The Mayor mentioned Old Fourth Ward a few times when discussing the possibilities of this land.
The City’s press release described this land purchase as pivotal. Vof
This land purchase should spur development around the park, increase land prices and inch the City closer to the District plans.
Sources: City of Johns Creek & Fulton County Property Records