Decatur’s purchase of this site on Talley Street and South Columbia Drive will likely set the stage for a future mixed use development or small commercial center. Bill Banks for the AJC

Decatur purchase of 252 Columbia could lead to small development

Earlier this week Decatur’s commission approved an intergovernmental agreement with its Downtown Development Authority to help purchase 252 Columbia Drive, a 1.2-acre site at the northeastern corner of Talley Street and South Columbia Drive. The DDA closed on the site in site in January with Redhead Properties for $1.9 million. Per the IGA, the city will provide up to $11,284.85 monthly until a decision’s made on the property’s permanent use.

Decatur’s reason for buying is to have control over the property’s development. The short-term goal is to implement some “street surface improvements,” to better “connect it to the neighborhood,” said Assistant City Manager Lyn Menne. But for now, she added, there is no long-range vision for the site. It could become a small commercial center or a small mixed-use development.

Only .2 acres is flood plain, and would get set aside for green space.

This is not unusual strategy for the city. Several years ago Decatur bought the Scottish Rite Building to help ensure the 1915 structure wasn’t razed. In February the city sold it to the Historic Scottish Rite Property group that, in part, owns the Scout Restaurant in the building’s west wing.

The city also bought the old Merritt House on Scott Blvd and Clairemont Rd., sold it to the Woodlands Garden, who’s now renovating the structure into a facility for disabled adults.

252 Columbia was previously home to Interstate Battery Company, and before that an automobile repair shop. Menne said there was a mild environmental cleanup which found no large-scale issues like underground storage tanks. There is currently a tenant, Mobile Diesel Solutions, in the building.

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