By Gerhard Schneibel
gerhard@reporternewspapers.net

The lease for the Sandy Springs police headquarters on Barfield Road expires in 2011, and renewing it is not an option, city council members recently said. The general purpose office building isn’t earthquake resistant, and council members balked at the thought of building an expensive new station to meet that federal code requirement.

There is, however, one building in Sandy Springs which already meets the necessary standards and may be for sale. The Fulton County North Annex in the 7000 block of Roswell Road has 46,000 square feet of space on an 8.2 acre lot and carries a replacement value of $5,528,000, according to the Fulton County Office of Community Relations.

“I think it would be good for us. It would be good for Fulton County, too, because they don’t have a need for that large facility anymore,” said Dist. 2 Councilwoman Dianne Fries. “Even if they wanted a tag place in the area, maybe we would sublease them a little area. But for us I think it would be a good parcel for the police department. There’s room for expansion; there’s actually room for a little expansion for Big Trees [Forest Preserve] if they needed it.”

Dist. 5 Councilman Tibby DeJulio said the annex “probably would be a very good candidate” for a police station because it is centrally located and Fulton County Sherriff’s Department already maintains some of its fleet there.

“It’s a place where people are used to coming for the police department,” he said.

Dist. 4 Councilwoman Ashley Jenkins said if Fulton County is willing to sell the annex, purchasing it would make financial sense.

“Gosh, if we could get that property and rehab that building, that would save the city a ton of money rather than buying some other piece of property and having to tear down whatever is on there and then having to rebuild,” she said.

John Eaves, Chairman of the Fulton County Commission, said he is open to the idea of selling the annex if a “win-win” agreement can be reached. He emphasized that Fulton County has to consider the needs of all its citizens: residents of Sandy Springs and beyond.

“I think a decision will be made that will be in the best interest of Fulton County,” he said. “The county manager is in the conversation as well and he’s going to be exploring this and gathering all the facts and the data… We just have to make sure that it is going to be beneficial to everybody.”

Charlie Roberts, President of the Board of Big Trees, said his organization has been working with the city and has met with Fulton County commissioners on the issue several times.

“We’re talking an acre or an acre and a half; not a lot,” he said. “We would like to get more, but the first objective is to buffer Big Trees and the parking lots and add 20 or 30 feet of natural area.”