Atlanta airport spends nearly $170k to store useless furniture

Crowds flow through Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Storage of surplus office furniture from the giant complex turned out to be costly. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Crowds flow through Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Storage of surplus office furniture from the giant complex turned out to be costly. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Atlanta airport officials plan to spend up to $168,850 on back payments for storage of old airport furniture that has turned out to be worthless — and another $10,000 to get rid of it.

The furniture had long been kept in a basement of the old Georgia International Convention Center near the airport.

The city-owned convention center is now used by the film industry. In recent years a film company expanded into the basement, prompting a 2015 decision to have the furniture moved to a warehouse for continued storage.

Plans had been to eventually reuse or sell the old furniture. But “unfortunately the furniture proved obsolete and provided no market value,” according to city documents.

The airport now is seeking Atlanta city council approval to spend up to $178,850 for storage from July 2016 through May 2017, and for the disposal of the furniture to a recycling company.

If approved, that would be on top of $173,652 spent last year to move the furniture into storage in the first place and to pay for the warehouse rental through June 2016.

The city chose Closeout Express LLC for a contract worth up to $10,000 to divest the furniture.

The furniture includes office desks and chairs.

“It was old furniture… stuff that was just being housed over there because there was some vacant space,” airport deputy general manager Michael Smith told the AJC.

Spending tens of thousands on storage was questioned when the airport sought approval for funding to move the items into storage.

“Are these things worth $173,000?” asked Yolanda Adrean, then-chair of the city council transportation committee, during a committee briefing at the time. “If it’s not worth it, I’d hate to spend the money.” A city procurement official told her he had looked at the furniture and thought it could still be useful. Then-airport manager Miguel Southwell agreed, and the city council voted unanimously to approve the move to storage.

But this week, in seeking approval to pay up the storage bill and disposal costs, current airport general manager Roosevelt Council told transportation committee members: “It was deemed that it really had very little value or no value at all.”

Money would come from airport revenue, including rental fees from the film company, not the city’s general fund.

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