Reed: Deal off to sell Atlanta’s civic center

A deal to sell Atlanta’s civic center to a private developer appears to be dead.

Mayor Kasim Reed told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday that negotiations to sell the Atlanta’s civic center to a development firm have been scratched after more than a year. But an executive with the Texas-based real estate firm said he is hopeful a deal can still be salvaged.

The city announced a plan in September 2015 to sell the aging and money-losing arena to Houston-based Weingarten Realty for $30 million. Weingarten planned an ambitious mix of apartments, office space, green space and retail totaling about $300 million.

But the negotiations have dragged on, and Reed has said in recent months he was disappointed in the pace of progress.

“We are not doing a deal with Weingarten,” Reed said in a brief interview. “That transaction is over. We couldn’t come to terms that were acceptable to the city. I felt the deal had dragged on and was unwilling to continue to engage in a negotiation. Either they wanted to purchase it or not. That’s where we ended up.”

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But Bill Coats, a Weingarten executive in Atlanta, said he was unaware of any plan by the city to back out and that he remained optimistic a sale will take place.

“We are continuing to work on it and we have some issues to overcome, but it is surprising to me that the mayor would say that,” Coats said. “It is a very, very complicated transaction. I don’t think it has taken longer than similar deals. You could probably ask the same question for a lot of similar deals.”

He cited other complicated city-steered land transactions, including Turner Field and Underground Atlanta, which are both in the process of closing.

More on this story as it develops…

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