Airport wants part of Ford land

Atlanta is planning to buy half of the former Ford plant from the developer who still has big plans for the other half. The city wants to buy part of the former Ford site that is least developable due to airport height restrictions, but is the most important to airport safety and security.

The $32.4 million purchase will be considered Wednesday by several Atlanta City Council committees. The price comes to $540,625 per acre.

“In our minds, it’s a very fair price,” said airport general manager Louis Miller. He said three appraisals the city used ranged from $434,000 to $818,000 per acre. Atlanta is proposing to buy the area that borders two main runways on the east side of the airport along Airport Loop Road.

Jacoby bought the 122-acre site from automaker Ford in 2008 for $40.3 million, or about $330,300 per acre, with plans for hotels, parking and even a high-tech garbage processing plant.

Earlier this year, Porsche announced it would move its North American headquarters from Sandy Springs to about 20 acres at the Jacoby site. Plans call for a $100 million headquarters building with a 1.6 mile test drive track.

The city said the deal with Jacoby includes rights to purchase 30 more acres at the same price in case Porsche doesn’t use its option to take the additional acreage.

Miller said for now, the city doesn’t have plans for the land, but one will be developed as the airport begins a master planning process later this year. The airport could operate a parking lot there, but nothing is final, he said.

Up to 75 percent of the city’s purchase price could be repaid from a Federal Aviation Administration grant, Miller said. The grant is part of an FAA program that encourages airports to buy the areas around their runways to protect them from potential hazards, including tall buildings or other obstructions.

To buy the land initially, the city will use passenger facility charges, or the $4.50 fee that each emplaned passenger pays for tickets from Hartfield-Jackson International Airport. Airport funds and revenue are kept separate from Atlanta’s regular budget.

“At the end of the day, there’s no out of pocket money from us at all,” Miller said.

Staff writer Kelly Yamanouchi contributed to this report.