Swap of Atlanta’s Bobby Jones Golf Course wins initial OK from state

A state takeover of Atlanta’s popular Bobby Jones Golf Course won preliminary approval Thursday from the Georgia Building Authority Board, which voted to formally authorize contract discussions with city officials.

The vote came two weeks after the Atlanta City Council approved the deal, which includes an exchange of property that would give the city control of a parking deck and other state-owned land near Underground Atlanta — an area targeted by the city for a massive redevelopment project.

In return, the state would gain control of the golf course — which sits about 10 minutes north of downtown along Peachtree Creek in Buckhead — as well parts of the adjoining Atlanta Memorial Park. The state would also gain control of land near the Underground where the old World of Coke building sits empty and unused. The state bought that building nine years ago for $1.1 million with plans to turn it into a state history museum, but it wanted total control of the property — dirt and all — for the project.

The deal still has a ways to go before it is finalized. Steve Stancil, the building authority’s executive director, said state officials need time to review the contract and work out any differences over details involving the land swap.

Stancil also cautioned that no one had signed off on any state plans for the Bobby Jones course. Publicity surrounding the deal has included expectations that the state would install a new Georgia Golf Hall of Fame, turn the current 18-hole course into a nine-hole facility, and add practice grounds for Georgia State University and other state college and youth golf programs.

“We’re hearing rumors of all kinds of wild and crazy plans, (but) there’s not any wild and crazy plans yet,” said Stancil, who nonetheless called the deal a “win-win” for the state and city. “This thing is so in the infancy. Once we own the property we’ll be meeting with folks and deciding what the best course of action is for operation.”

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