The city of Sandy Springs may have to go to court to settle a disagreement over the value of less than half an acre of land the city wants to purchase for part of its streetscape project.
According to city documents, Sandy Springs appraised the land at $305,600 (for the right-of-way and a construction easement) and offered to pay that amount to the owner, listed only as the Centre Court shopping center, according to Fulton County property records, at 6010 Sandy Springs Circle, across from the City Springs complex.
The owner countered at $499,750, and the city was at one point willing to pay that amount. The cost also includes 0.309 acres for the temporary construction easements and interruption of business.
“If you looked at comparable real estate sales, especially the ones that closed recently, it’s the Beavers property,” District 3 Sandy Springs City Councilman Chris Burnett said, referring to the council’s 6-0 vote at its Aug. 6 meeting to approve paying $862,500 to settle a condemnation case regarding a 0.241-acre piece of land nearby on the corner of Sandy Springs Circle and Mount Vernon Highway.
That property sale had a high price tag because it also included funds for the loss of business State Farm insurance agent Randy Beavers incurred for having to move from that prime location to another spot nearby in the city.
But at the council’s Sept. 3 meeting at City Springs, the vote to purchase the Centre Court property, which was tabled from its Aug. 20 meeting after Burnett and two other council members expressed doubts about approving such a high sum for a small piece of land, it instead voted 6-0 to deny the sale.
Burnett, who motioned for the denial, said the Beavers property was valued at about $40 a square foot but the Centre Court land is costing the city nearly $80 a square foot.
“I think it’s incumbent on us to be good stewards of our taxpayer dollars, and it’s incumbent on us that we reject this,” he said.
At the Aug. 20 meeting, City Attorney Dan Lee said the reason for the high cost of the Centre Court land, where the city would take seven to eight parking spaces, is appraisals can range from $700,000 down to $305,000.
“This is a condemnation (proceeding) for part of that property, and negotiations broke down. … I can’t tell you how appraisals are landing when it comes to parking spaces, especially in properties where the parking is limited,” he said. “This is one of them that is the basis for the root of the difference in the price.”
Lee said the city is at the end of its negotiations with the owner, so only a jury trial would be the next step if the city does not approve the agreed-to amount.