Sandy Springs has long planned an expansion of an urban park, and with the recent approval of a $1.2 million land purchase, the city is moving closer to making it a reality.

The City Council approved to move forward with the purchase of two vacant houses adjacent to Allen Road Park for a total of $1,190,000 at a Feb. 4 meeting.

“I think we’re getting a twofer here,” City Councilmember Andy Bauman said at the meeting. “When you get to add greenspace to an existing park, it’s an exponential improvement.”

The 3-acre park, located at Allen Road and Lake Forrest Drive, features sports courts, a playground and a nature trail. The neighboring properties at 75 and 85 Allen Road are a combined 1.52 acres.

The vacant house at 75 Allen Road, immediately next to Allen Road Park, as it appeared in December 2017. (File)

The properties are owned by the A Filsoof Irrevocable Trust. In 2018, Morris Nejat, a New York City medical doctor was brokering the properties on behalf of his father-in-law, Adel Milsoof of Roswell. Nejat previously had said he could not recall exactly how long Milsoof had owned the properties or how long they had been vacant, but said it was many years.

County property records showed Milsoof transferred both properties into the ownership of a real estate trust in 2016 and bought the house at 85 Allen in 2007.

“We are happy that the land will be used to expand the park and will benefit the community,” Nejat said in an email.

City spokesperson Sharon Kraun said in an email that there is no timeline on the expansion because the next step is to close on the land purchase with the owner.

City Councilmember Chris Burnett, whose District 3 includes the area, said the large purchase is a great investment for the community.

“While it is a lot of money, I think it is indicative of the property’s value,” Burnett said at the meeting. “I’m supporting it not just because I think the value is there, but also, I like the potential expansion of Allen Road Park.”

“This park gets a lot of use,” Bauman said at the meeting. “I think this is a real plus for our community.”

The city has had its eye on the properties for park expansion purposes for years. The 60-year-old houses have been targeted by city code enforcement officers in recent years amid unsuccessful sales attempts.

In 2018, Nejat said he was in a contract with a developer who would take down the homes and put in a new commercial development with land donation to the park, but the deal never went through.

In 2017, the property was rezoned from single-family residential to “office mixed-use” in the new zoning code.

This story has been updated with a comment from Morris Nejat.