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National Park Service to renovate and open Atlanta 'life home' of Martin Luther King Jr.

The house is where Dr. King lived with his family

ATLANTA — The National Park Service is taking control of the last home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The purchase of the brick home at 234 Sunset Ave. NW was announced Thursday.

The modest brick home is where Dr. King, his wife Coretta and their family lived from 1964 until King's death in 1968.

The house has been a below-the-radar attraction for decades. The King family continued to own it up until this month. Now it will become part of the NPS King Historic Site, now based on Auburn Avenue NE. The National Park Service Foundation quietly bought the home with donated funds Jan. 8, but kept the purchase under wraps until Thursday.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed. 

It's unclear how much of the home's contents were purchased. Atlanta Civil Rights Tours owner Tom Houck, who worked for Dr. King's family before he died, told a tour group Saturday that King's blue 1966 Chevy Impala was still parked in the garage at 234 Sunset Ave.  He also said a plastic-covered couch that Dr. King purchased was still in the living room. The interior of the house has not been open to the public.

Fulton County tax records showed the owner of the property as "Coretta S. King" last year. The house was valued at $68,000.

"I think this is tremendous news for Atlanta," said city councilman Michael Julian Bond, who grew up two doors down from the King family.  "This is a way to bookend Dr. King's story in Atlanta from his beginnings over on Sweet Auburn to the final years of his life over on what used to be called the gold coast in west Atlanta."

A spokeswoman for the NPS Foundation said the house would spend months in renovation before opening to the public.