ATLANTA, Ga. -- City officials say it is the most high profile piece of ugly, blighted, dangerous, derelict property in Atlanta. Visitors to Atlanta driving on I-20 from the west get an all too plain view of it, in all its boarded-up, dumped on, graffiti-tagged glory.
"This is an eyesore. This is blight," said city councilman C.T. Martin, standing on the property. "I come this way every day hoping that this stuff will disappear."
Councilman Martin says he has tried for nine years to get it torn down. Now, the property once known as the Essex Apartments, at 1991 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, is just days away from a date with a demolition service. Martin says he hopes other hopelessly uninhabitable apartments nearby will follow soon.
"When I get them done, I'm probably going to kiss the ground. And the ground is pretty dirty," Martin said.
There's a reason this place has stayed so blighted for so long. It was part of a huge mortgage fraud case more than a decade ago. In that case, the owner of the property disappeared --- and has stayed gone ever since.
Attorney John Mansour bought the property, waded through the mortgage fraud fallout and secured the demolition permit -- granted, he says, by a grateful city staff.
"We've got good interstate frontage, as you can see," Mansour said. "I think it's got some good commercial prospects."