Westside’s Huge Mess

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Above is a perfect example of the current state of the  MLK Jr. corridor.

 

The future of the Martin Luther King Jr. corridor, the area connecting the new Falcon’s stadium to the traditionally black colleges that reside in Atlanta, is completely up the air. This area could receive a much-needed breath of new life and revitalization or it could continue to dive headfirst into poverty and continued disinvestment. What happens with this corridor depends mainly on what happens with the 40 acres of land owned by Morris Brown College, an un-accredited institution that has less than 40 enrolled students. Morris Brown College is nearly $35 million in debt and has been facing bankruptcy for the last year.

The city of Atlanta thought it had the perfect plan to bail both the area and the college out of trouble – it offered almost $10 million for the campus, which has experienced legal and financial difficulties for many years. But the school rejected the city’s offer and announced during their bankruptcy filings on June 28th that they had a prospective buyer offering $20 million for the property. The prospective buyer: FD LLC, the retailer who owns the chain of Family Dollar discount stores, among others.

The MLK Jr. corridor essentially has three options.

  1. It can take advantage of its amazing location and turn itself into an anchor development, revitalizing the area and drawing new investments,
  2. It can be turned into an avenue of discount shops, liquor stores, pawn shops, and check-cashing places (the likely scenario if purchased by FD LLC or similar companies), or
  3. Nothing will change at all – the vacant land will remain vacant, the boarded up buildings will stay in place, and all of the financial and legal troubles for both the school and the area in general will persist.

The city of Atlanta has put together a task force of sorts to involve the surrounding communities in the redevelopment decisions and projects as well as measure the impact of potential redevelopment. The group is tasked with determining how the environment, traffic, neighborhoods, public safety, and economic development will be impacted as things begin to evolve in this area.

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