City officials have learned that the location of Brookhaven’s current City Hall may soon be redeveloped and a new location may be needed within the next two years.
The lease for City Hall, located at 4362 Peachtree Road N.E., expires in December 2019. Representatives of the owner of the site, Delta Life Insurance Co. in Atlanta, recently told City Manager Christian Sigman that they were considering redeveloping the property.
“We reached out to the owner to extend the lease and they said they were contemplating redeveloping all of their land,” Sigman said in an interview. “That’s all I know at this time.”
Sigman raised the issue at City Council’s Jan. 10 work session after the council voted to approve a five-year renewal of the lease for the Police Department and Municipal Court building located at 2665 Buford Highway, the former site of the Latin American Association. That agreement was set to expire Dec. 31, 2018 but was renewed through 2023.
Annual payments to lease the Police Department and Municipal Court building will be between $230,000 and $257,000 a year over the next five years as part of a gradual rate increase between Jan. 1, 2019, and Jan. 1, 2023, according to the agreement.
The city moved into its current City Hall, a former Georgia State University building, in 2014. After the city was incorporated in December 2012, the city used an office building in Dunwoody for its very first City Hall.
The city’s lease payment for the Peachtree Road site for 2017 is $294,175.01, according to spokesperson Ann Marie Quill. The three-story building houses city departments, administrative offices and the City Council chambers. The current site takes in 24,000 square feet.
“The lease here expires at the end of 2019, so we have a little bit more time,” Sigman said. “We’re good here until December 2019.”
Finding a place to put City Hall was a challenge for city officials even before Brookhaven officially incorporated. The Governor’s Commission on Brookhaven, a body appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to help set up the city before the mayor and council members were elected, was tasked with securing a temporary City Hall. That body settled on the Dunwoody location because it was so difficult to find a suitable space in Brookhaven.
Sigman said the administration before Mayor John Ernst took office had commissioned a consultant to conduct a 30-year facilities plan. That plan, however, got dropped somehow, and when Sigman came on board the company called him asking if the study was still needed.
That plan has been rebooted, Sigman said, but no timeline was given when it will be completed.
Talk of where to find a permanent location for City Hall has been tossed about since the city was founded. MARTA officials have even tried to sweeten the deal with Brookhaven in seeking approval for its rezoning request to build a massive transit-oriented development at the city’s station site by promising space for a City Hall in the TOD should the city choose to approve the project.
An earlier version of this story said Sigman said the owner of the property was considering selling the property for redevelopment. Actually, the owners did not mention selling the property and told Sigman they were exploring the possibility of redeveloping it.