By Douglas Sams and Maria Saporta
A development team led by Egbert Perry has put the former General Motors Co. plant in Doraville, Ga. under contract, with plans to close on a deal for the 167-acre site later this summer.
Doraville Mayor Donna Pittman confirmed the news to residents, and a few state and local political leaders, Monday evening. In a short speech at city hall, Pittman said the plant — which shut down several years ago – is now poised to become a historic redevelopment. Afterward, Pittman referred further questions to Perry, who did not attend the meeting.
Perry is one of the Atlanta’s best-known developers, and earlier this year he was named chairman of Fannie Mae. Perry has served on the board of Fannie Mae since 2008.
Perry is also chairman and chief executive officer of Atlanta-based real estate company The Integral Group LLC. It has been working through due diligence on the GM site for months. Roswell, Ga.-based Macauley+Schmit is a development partner on the project.
In an interview with Atlanta Business Chronicle earlier Monday afternoon, Perry said ongoing studies of the possible environmental issues should be completed in about 10 days. “We are not expecting any real surprises,” Perry said. “There was a need to just be prudent.”
Integral is supposed to finalize the acquisition Aug. 3, depending on the final outcome of the environmental investigation, he said.
Last fall, Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that Integral had worked out an agreement with General Motors that allowed an extended due diligence period on the site. GM has been asking about $60 million for the plant.
The due diligence period was critical for Integral’s possible capital partners, which would help finance the project but first need confidence they can deal with the environmental challenges a heavy industrial site presents.
The redevelopment has the potential to become a catalyst for additional investment along Peachtree Road north of Buckhead and could eventually help transform the corridor all the way to the Perimeter.
The effort to remake the plant into mixed-use development has been compared to Atlantic Station, a blend of apartments, stores and office towers that rose over Midtown at 17th Street. The site was the former Atlantic Steel Mill.
Some Doraville residents talked about the possibility the redevelopment of the GM plant could bring more housing options to the city.
Brookhaven officials, also on hand for Pittman’s remarks Monday night, believe it will also create much-needed jobs. That would have a spillover effect for nearby cities situated along the Peachtree corridor, fueling the need for more housing in places such as Brookhaven, where upscale apartment projects have already sprung up over the past few years as the economy improved.
The Doraville plant also has the potential to become a showcase for new transit-oriented development. The site is adjacent to MARTA’s Doraville station.