Gwinnett closes on $35M property targeted for future MARTA station

The OFS site near I-85 and Jimmy Carter Boulevard. (Credit: Gwinnett County)

The OFS site near I-85 and Jimmy Carter Boulevard. (Credit: Gwinnett County)

Gwinnett County now officially owns the property that could be the location for its first-ever MARTA rail station.

Officials announced Friday that the county had closed on the purchase of about 103 acres on the OFS Brightwave Solutions site, a high-profile property near I-85 and Jimmy Carter Boulevard that has previously been pitched as everything from a casino to a movie production campus. The county has issued the more than $35 million in bonds necessary for its purchase earlier this month.

Gwinnett plans to market part of the property to private developers in hopes of luring in some kind of urban-style, mixed-use project. But officials also have pinpointed the site for the future home of a  transit hub.

In March, the county will hold a public referendum on joining MARTA. Should the referendum pass, officials hope to extend heavy rail into Gwinnett from the existing Doraville MARTA station.

The OFS property has been identified as the likely destination.

“The site along the Jimmy Carter Boulevard corridor is one of the premier pieces of real estate in metro Atlanta, which makes this a good deal for our community and a strategic investment in its long-term success,” Gwinnett Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash said in a news release. “This purchase gives us a greater say in the site’s potential redevelopment. I am most grateful to OFS for its willingness to work with the county and to all of the parties involved for making this transaction happen.”

Gwinnett and OFS ratified a purchase-sale agreement in May. The deal includes OFS’ Building 50 — a 422,000 square foot facility that, despite the failure of the much larger movie campus previously proposed by a private developer, is still being used for film production.

Officials have said that the revenues collected from the continuance of such projects — which will still be managed by OFS — should cover the county’s expected annual debt service of around $2.5 million on the bonds it issued earlier this month.

The $35.435 million in bonds issued by the county will be financed at 3.9 percent interest.

OFS will continue its business operations on the 66 acres it still owns on the site.