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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

City of Snellville to make offer on Wisteria Square property

Today the Snellville City Council and mayor convened in a special meeting. Yes, you did read that right. Only 3 days before Christmas. So you know the issue at hand was an important one.

On the agenda is land acquisition. Specifically, the property on Wisteria Drive formerly known as the Wisteria Square development I wrote about back in August, 2010.
Official Meeting Notice

Snellville has the chance to grab this prime real estate and secure it for the citizens, but a decision needed to be made by December 31. The motion to go forward with purchase of the property was approved with provisions by the Snellville City Council and mayor in a 6-0 decision. The provisions are that the property should not have any back taxes owed, that taxes should be current at the time of purchase. The City of Snellville will waive the city's back taxes of approximately $10K.

One year ago, the bank offered the property to the city for $6.8 million.
Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Bender and council members Tom Witts and Tod Warner held their ground that they would not agree to the city paying more than $65K per acre, which would work out to approximately $697K.  The bank offered a revised appraisal of the property value of $1.8 million.  Bender, Witts and Warner again refused to budge, saying they would only agree to more if the bank financed the property to the city. The bank said that it would accept an offer of $697,450 if the city would pay cash for the property by December 31.

Location, location, location!
I have heard some comments from people who wonder why the city would want to buy property when the economy is bad. Well, that's kind of the point - to secure control of the property at this low price.  I am completely in favor of the city buying the property to secure it as part of our downtown center, especially being across the street from our new Snellville Police station.  To me, it looks like a fine investment in Snellville's future.

Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Bender explained to me that for the city to have options open for the property, it was important for the funds to come out of the city's General Fund. If the money came from SPLOST funds, the land would be required by law to be a park. That wouldn't be a poor use for the property, but the city needs to leave options open for use of the land. Said Bender, "Holding the property allows us to control the property as we continue our visioning process with Clark Patterson Lee, and to figure out what the best use will be."


  1. Anonymous9:28 AM

    If the land is not free we do not need it, what will it cost to maintain this property until it is developed???

  2. What will it cost the city if we do not purchase it. If we are going to be serious about retaining our property values and being a community that keeps pace with our surrounding communities then we need to be open to the opportunities that present themselves and trust our leaders to do the right thing. This past year should have shown us that we are heading in the right direction. Let's have a little confidence. I personally believe that we have a team that wants what is best for us and are working at delivering it.


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