Longtime Atlanta developer Tom Cousins is selling his 8,800-acre Nonami Plantation near Albany to CNN founder and environmentalist Ted Turner, the Atlanta Business Chronicle has reported.
The deal marks the largest purchase of property for Turner in Georgia, the newspaper said. Turner grew up in Georgia and built a media empire centered around 24/7 news.
The plantation is considered one of the best quail hunting spots in Georgia. Most of the land is already protected under a conservation easement.
Cousins declined to comment on the sale, Bill Wren, CEO of Nonami Enterprises Inc., told the Business Chronicle. Wren said Cousins considers it a “personal transaction between friends.”
Phillip Evans, a spokesman for Enterprises Inc., told the paper that purchase of the plantation was still “in process” but that the deal is supposed to close in the near future.
“Tom and Ted have been very good friends for man years,” Evans said. “It’s my understanding there was a mutual agreement between the two that if Tom ever decided to sell the property, Ted would have the first option.”
The friendship and business partnership between the two dates back to the 1970s, when Turner asked Cousins for a loan so he could start what eventually became known as the first “superstation.”
Turner then bought the Atlanta Hawks from Cousins. He used the superstation, WTCG, to broadcast the Hawks, Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Flames – the pro hockey team Cousins owned before selling to a Canadian investor in 1980.
He later bought the Omni International center from Cousins and turned it into what is now the CNN Center.
Turner, now a philanthropist and environmentalist, owns more than 2 million acres of land in the United States – making him the largest individual owner of land in the nation.
Earlier this week Turner and Southern Co. CEO David Ratcliffe said they were forming an alliance to pursue renewable energy projects with an initial focus on "developing and investing in large-scale solar photovoltaic projects in the U.S. Southwest."
The two, known more for sparring over things such as Southern’s use of coal and Turner’s support of alternative fuels such as wind and solar, said they formed the alliance out of a common goal to develop renewable energy projects.
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