The Fulton County Board of Commissioners rejected the second offer from Ben Carter Properties to purchase the Buckhead branch library to incorporate the site into the company’s Streets of Buckhead mixed-use development.
The most recent offer from Ben Carter, which the commission rejected July 2, was to build a replica of the library at a new Buckhead location, possibly at the northeast corner of East Paces Ferry Road and Maple Drive, several blocks east of the present site on Buckhead Avenue.
Carter offered about $24 million for the library because it is in the way of his plans for The Streets of Buckhead. Carter reportedly said the $24 million would cover the land, construction and furnishings for a new library, with some left over.
When Ben Carter Properties’ first offer to buy the library site became public in February, defenders of the building demonstrated and launched petition drives. That first offer was to purchase the library and incorporate a new library into a mixed-use building within The Streets of Buckhead. Parking would have been available in an attached parking deck.
The commission turned down that offer, and Carter returned with the new offer in May.
The Buckhead branch was not the only library issue before the county commission July 2. The commissioners delayed a decision on what to include in a proposed $225 million library bond issue they hope to have on the November ballot.
The major holdup is what to do about the Central Library in downtown Atlanta. The bond issue includes $34 million to renovate the nearly 30-year-old structure, but Commissioner Robb Pitts has made a last-minute push to build a replacement instead, which could increase the cost by $150 million.
Commissioners have been warned by staff that all of the details for the bond issue must be completed by their July 16 meeting to make the November ballot.
— John Schaffner