By John Schaffner

editor@reporternewspapers.net

All but one holdout property owner have agreed to participate in donating and selling right of way along Peachtree Road in Buckhead to allow construction to begin by July on Phase II of Peachtree Boulevard, which will stretch from the Buckhead MARTA station to Roxboro Road.

Simon Properties, owner of the Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza shopping malls, and Macy’s, its anchor tenant at Lenox, “have agreed in principle and to the arithmetic to sell and donate appropriate easements to make Phase II become a reality,” Scotty Greene, the executive director of the Buckhead Community Improvement District, told the Buckhead Reporter.

He said the investment of Simon and Macy’s has a value of $1 million and “represents a major breakthrough toward getting the project done.”

The lone holdout as of Feb. 3, Greene said, is South Carolina-based Edens & Avant, which owns the Lenox Marketplace at Peachtree and Roxboro roads, with Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target and Publix.

Greene has worked with the Georgia Department of Transportation in negotiations with all of the property owners along Peachtree on both Phase I of the Peachtree Boulevard streetscape project, completed in 2007, and the Phase II right-of-way acquisitions.

Greene said he anticipates all parties will sign contracts by Feb. 15, one month after the announced “drop dead” date. “The goal is to have the shovel-ready stimulus package by March 15 in order to obtain federal funding. Bid letting is anticipated in March or April, with construction to start no later than July 1.”

The German owners of Lenox Plaza and Buckhead resident Bob Goddard, who owns Lenox Tower, recently made major contributions. Greene credits Steve Selig of Selig Enterprises with starting the ball rolling with a contribution valued at $275,000.

Greene said the economic climate has resulted in a drop in construction costs for Phase II from $15 million to $12.5 million. The total cost will be about $30 million.

The Peachtree Boulevard project “has been 15 years in the planning,” Greene said. “It is half-done, and the second half is about to be done.”