A Hammond Drive site that once drew excitement for a possible Antico Pizza Napoletana restaurant will be bought by the city of Sandy Springs for an intersection and road-widening projects.

The $1.55 million purchase of 336 Hammond and an adjacent property at 6049 Boylston Drive was approved by the City Council May 5.

The lot at 336 Hammond Drive in Sandy Springs as it appears in a 2019 Google Maps image.

The property at 336 Hammond is a former lawn ornament dealer’s location. An Antico restaurant was proposed for the site in 2018, but the deal fell through last year, with the developer blaming delays in the city’s permit process. The adjacent Boylston Drive parcel was part of plan for that project and owned by the same company, 336 Hamm LLC.

The city had designated 336 Hammond as possibly being displaced for its Hammond Drive widening concept. In February, the city said it was among the properties that could be affected by the controversial widening idea.

Martin called the property purchase a “protective buy,” one of many Sandy Springs has made to secure right of way for the widening project. The city so far has spent about $9.5 million on to buy 27 properties for the potential widening of Hammond between Roswell Road and Glenridge Drive.

In addition, the city has a plan to realign the Hammond/Boylston intersection, which would take right of way. Without the property, the intersection project would at least be more expensive, if not undoable, Public Works Director Marty Martin said.

Martin told the council that staff used sales of comparable properties when negotiating with the property owner. An appraisal was not sought.

“Marty, I think this just goes without saying this is a mission-critical piece of property,” Councilmember Andy Bauman said. “Will there be some excess property that potential will have some value to the city later on?”

Martin told Bauman after completing intersection and widening projects, some property may be available for green space or other uses.

Martin said the Boylston property could be eligible for a Georgia Environmental Protection Division brownfields program that offers protection from liability for attempts to clean up pollution on the site. The city could not immediately clarify what type of pollution may be on the site.

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Reporter Newspapers.