Monday, August 15, 2011

Dunwoody Inks Deal For More Land

Dunwoody REIT The City of Dunwoody has announced another round of land purchases.  The four tracts total nearly 24 acres and are situated off North Shallowford.  For those of you not familiar with Dunwoody street names, here's some help imaging where this land is located.

Imagine you are sitting in a booth at Mellow Mushroom, eating a slice or two of fresh cheese pizza (made with spring water dough) and downing an ice-cold glass of Hoegaarden beer.  You get your designated driver to take you on a quick spin.  Exit Mellow Mushroom and go left (south) toward Dunkin' Donuts (nearly time for those pumpkin muffins).  Keep going down Chamblee Dunwoody Road Main Street with donuts and the BP on your right / library approaching on your left.  For some insane reason the road will change names in a mile or so to North Shallowford.  You approach Peeler Road to your left.  Soon you will see, on your right, the former home to Anytime Fitness.  On your left is a  wonderful Thai restaurant. You found it!  Just past this retail strip you'll see the home of a future Dunwoody park perhaps.  Or, maybe home to the North Metro Senior Baseball League.
Yellow area is the city's earlier purchase of 16 acres.  Purple areas new areas under contract.
official map of land 

Not all this land will be used for parks.  One parcel is part of a bigger plan for a new road.
possible route of extension of Peachford Road

I don't eat much Thai food so this area of town is not in my normal flight plans, so I have no comment on the validity of extending this road.  The first question would be, For whom are we extending this road? (now that school is back in session remind your kids that 'whom' is an object pronoun and 'who' is a subject pronoun.  'We is the subject of the sentence, so use 'whom'.) If people educated on roads and traffic patterns feel extending this road is a good idea, then I defer to their professional opinion.

Looks like the five acre tract on the west side of N Shallowford Road is a done deal. The other 19 acres are contingent upon a land acquisition bond earning greater than 50% of voters in November.  For the land acquisition bond to pass, people need to see what council has in mind for all that money.  This is perhaps the first of a series of land teasers leading up to November.

Two ways to look at this park land agreement of 19 acres:

1.  The current council is not satisfied with spending current budget funds - they want to spend money not even in their sights.  Perhaps some on current council feel the next council (we will have a new mayor, and up to three new council members next year) would act differently if the land bond passes, so they want to lock up at least $5 million of the money now, not allowing future councils to have a say in how it is spent. Maybe current council will announce more land deals in the next 90 or so days, spending $30 million before a vote takes place.

2.  The current council is doing the next council (and the residents of Dunwoody) a good deed by locking up some land now, before developers regain their footing.  The current council is gulping up any land available in chunks of 14+ acres ahead of a possible SPLOST.  In November, all of DeKalb will vote to renew a $.01 sales tax.  If SPLOST passes, DeKalb Schools may look for 14+ acres of land in Dunwoody for a new school to replace Austin.  There is a chance Austin stays where it is now (acquiring a few homes to increase its footprint).  If SPLOST fails, no new Austin for Dunwoody.

If SPLOST passes and the Parks Land bond passes (and Dunwoody has all the big chunks of land under contract) look for DeKalb Schools to try and work out a land swap or maybe buy a parcel. But any purchased with bond money has to be a park of sorts, not a school.

Let's get back on track here (although future school sites are an important piece to this real estate puzzle).  Maybe council is doing a great job by making deals now.  There are motivated sellers out there, and Dunwoody taxpayers may agree to give council the green light (and millions of dollars) on acquiring lands for parks. The big chunk of land mentioned in this deal is zoned office/industrial so no threat of apartments, but it is a piece DeKalb Schools would scoop up should our bond fail and the SPLOST passes.

Leave no doubt, if the parks land bond passes, much of the money will be spent.  Current council is putting a few deals in place now, saving the future council some work?

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