Morris Brown College got a little more oxygen put in its life-support tanks Monday when a bankruptcy judge — again — gave it more time to come up with a plan to settle its debts.
“I’m optimistic,” said Anne Aaronson, a lawyer representing the college,. “I always see a silver lining.”
But the plan probably won’t include selling property to Friendship Baptist Church for its relocation to help clear the way for a new stadium deal south of the Georgia Dome. The Friendship site is preferred by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, some neighborhoods and other parties instead of north of the Dome which lacks easy access to MARTA.
Church leaders had expressed some hope that if they sell their property to the city of Atlanta for $19.5 million they could buy the college’s Middleton dormitory complex.
Aaronson said trustees aren’t interested in selling Middleton Twin Towers to the church because they’re pursuing a package deal with “several suitors” including FD LLC, which had controversy because it had developed low-end Family Dollar stories.
The extension gives the Morris Brown group more time to strike a deal to pay off creditors as part of its Chapter 13 bankruptcy filed last summer. Creditors have asked the judge for authority to come up with a plan for the assets.
The $20 million FD LLC deal , however, stumbled for undisclosed reasons. Aaronson had said it would have built restaurants and hotels in line with the city’s vision for development for the property that straddles Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. She expressed confidence that a deal would be struck with one of the suitors to save the college, which is down to around 35 students from more than 3,000 since losing accreditation a decade ago.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Barbara Ellis-Monro, who had given the Morris Brown group until Monday to put together a deal on the property, is now giving the group until Sept. 6.
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