Police raids, building price lift veil on business district south of Five Points

By David Pendered

A string of narcotics arrests near Five Points last week, plus arrests for several outstanding warrants and the recovery of a stolen handgun, are among the latest examples of the challenges of sprucing up the city’s southern business district.

Atlanta police raided buildings south of Five Points in the areas identified by the red ovals. Credit: Google Earth, David Pendered

Atlanta police raided buildings south of Five Points in the areas identified by the red ovals. The address 90 Broad St. is near the center of the map; 155 Forsyth St. is below and to the left. Credit: Google Earth, David Pendered

This section of downtown Atlanta remains a place of competing objectives. The planned billion-dollar redevelopment of the gulch and neighboring area may spark a restoration of Atlanta’s historic urban core, even as an underground economy seems to thrive in the current environment.

The pedigree of one building where drug arrests were made highlights part of the economic tension. The building was purchased in 2009 for a sum higher than may be expected in the recession: 175 percent of the value assigned by Fulton County’s tax assessors.

Atlanta police made the arrests last week after running a number of operations in the area south of Marietta Street, according to police statements.

One shop police raided had food items covered in dust and long expired. Evidently those goods weren’t sold, and there was no mention of dust on bags of cocaine and marijuana allegedly kept in a box under the counter. Two digital scales were found next to the cash register, police said.

Here’s the statement police released about their March 1 raid at 90 Broad St.:

  • “After receiving complaints regarding possible illegal activity at 90 Broad St in southwest Atlanta, narcotics investigators began following up on the complaints and investigating the possibility of illegal activity at the location.
  • “During the investigation, undercover officers observed the sale of illegal narcotics and also purchased illegal narcotics inside the location (Fox Market).
  • “On 3-1-2013 investigators executed a search warrant at Fox Market. During the search investigators noticed that the food items for sale were covered in dust and numerous items were expired by several years.
  • “Next to the cash register investigators located two digital scales. One of the scales had a small amount of marijuana on it.
  • “Beneath the cash register were several plastic storage bins containing a large amount of cash.
  • “In the basement of the store investigators found a box that contained 12 small baggies containing cocaine and seven small baggies containing marijuana.
  • “As a result of the investigation and search, $4,537 was seized along with 4.1 grams of marijuana and 3.3 grams of cocaine.”

The statement went on to say that police charged the owner of the store with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Police also charged a woman with the sale of marijuana.

The pedigree of the building shows that Fox Market Realty Investments, LLC purchased the property in 2009 for $350,000. At the time, Fulton County appraised the property at $203,300 – the highest value recorded since 2009, records show.

Police made another string of arrests made Feb. 27 in the southern business district.

Here’s that statement:

  • “As part of the Atlanta Police Department’s effort to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in the area south of Marietta St. the vice unit conducted several operations in the area.
  • “During the course of these undercover operations, investigators found evidence of illegal drug activity at 155 Forsyth St. in southwest Atlanta.
  • “On 02-27-2013 investigators served a search warrant at the location, making 7 arrests and recovering 2 handguns (one of them found to have been stolen in 1993) and a total of 17.7 grams of marijuana.
  • “The business where the warrant was served (Farnett Express) was also found to have an expired business license. The owner of the business was charged with having an expired business license; failing to have a business license displayed; sale, distribution or possession of dangerous drugs and was found to have a warrant for her arrest.

The owner of the building is Brian Robin, of Brooklyn, N.Y., according to real estate records. Robin bought the building out of foreclosure in 2009 for a reported $136,500. The previous owner had paid $373,000 in 2007, records show.

 

About David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with nearly 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.
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9 comments
doug
doug

The "dealers" down here are good at what they do. I am suprized at the small amounts recovered given the volume of traffic I see at all hours. Unfortunately this time the police probably only got the tip off this floater. Keep it up fellas!

rankin' rob
rankin' rob

I would be curious to know if this business figured into the recent police corruption indictments. I can't imagine a cop walking into this store to buy a coke and a pack of nabs wouldn't suss this out right away.

katt
katt

Please keep this up. There is no good reason why this area should be the den of crime that it is. So much potential.

Jon Carlsten
Jon Carlsten

While the drug bust is commendable, I am marginally relieved that no crossfire - ala TV crime melodramas - was required. I would feel infinitely safer if these drugs were legalized. This would: 1) provide revenue producing taxes on these high demand commodities; 2) reduce the need for imprisonment for drug related offences; & 3) provide a safer means of herd thinning along the lines of our present programs of poor diet, alcohol consumption & smoking.