Atlanta looking to sell civic center

ATLANTA -- The city of Atlanta is looking for a buyer for the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center.

City Councilman Kwanza Hall has introduced an ordinance turning over the property to Invest Atlanta, the city's economic development agency, which will then seek bids from interested developers.

"This is one of the catalytic projects the community has identified as one of the true game changers for the Old Fourth Ward," said Hall, who represents the neighborhood where the facility is located. "It could have a huge impact if that catalyst could come on line."

The 380,000-square-foot civic center opened in 1967 on an 18-acre site at Piedmont Avenue and Ralph McGill Boulevard. As it has aged, many of the shows it once was able to attract have shifted to other venues, including the Cobb Energy Center. City officials have said keeping it viable would require significant capital upgrades the city can't afford on its own.

Hall said options for the site include housing, retail, perhaps a hotel or converting it into office space for the growing film industry, which has used the civic center for more than a dozen major TV and movie productions.

"We want industry to tell us how to do it best, based on what other people are doing or have done," he said.

The move to sell the civic center follows closely on the heels of a proposal to sell the city-owned Underground Atlanta. Mayor Kasim Reed has been looking to shed money-losing properties in order to better position the city to afford a $150 million to $250 million infrastructure bond referendum he plans to put before Atlanta voters as early as next year.

Hall said the civic center proposal will be taken up by the council's Community Development or Finance/Executive committee.


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