An Orlando development company plans to purchase the shuttered General Motors plant in Doraville to turn it into a large commercial and residential center.
Details, including the 165-acre site’s sale price, remain under wraps, but the developer, New Broad Street Companies, said the agreement is the product of more than 18 months of negotiations with GM.
“This is the best urban infill site in the country for a large, transit-oriented development,” company President David Pace said in a statement. “It will be clean and green, incorporating environmental remediation of the former industrial site with best practices for sustainable development.”
New Broad Street has signed a contract with GM, and the deal is expected to close early this summer, said Barbara Koenig, company spokeswoman.
The plant has been vacant since GM shut it down in September 2008. Officials in Doraville, long a manufacturing center in DeKalb County, are hoping it will move away from its industrial roots. City officials, including recently elected city council members, have expressed a desire to lure mixed-use development that would signal that transition. Many city officials are looking for science- and technology-oriented industries to flourish in Doraville.
Doraville officials said they were excited about GM’s deal with New Broad Street. The site had become the center of controversy in October after residents learned of the county’s intention to possibly build a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons there. The Doraville City Council voted unanimously Oct. 19 to oppose the construction of a new stadium. The vote followed a town hall meeting where city officials said residents overwhelmingly protested the presence of a stadium because of the excess traffic it would attract, among other development issues.
DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis could not be reached for comment, and Doraville Mayor Ray Jenkins said he had not spoken with county officials about the stadium plan since the October council vote.
“We’ve always kind of wanted mixed use, which is live, work, play,” Jenkins said of the new development plans. “I feel good today. … We lost a lot of revenue when GM closed the doors. We’re hoping it’ll bring that back.”
City Councilman Bob Roche said he was also pleased about the deal but didn’t believe the city government is prepared for the changes development will bring. He said he’s been encouraging the council to hire a development planner qualified to work with New Broad Street after the deal with GM is finalized.
“The current staff at city hall are really not up to this challenge,” he said. “City Hall needs to modernize.”
Jenkins said he’d like to see a large mixed-use development that would include residential, commercial and office space that could spark a development renaissance in Doraville.
“We’re really enthused about it. We’ve been waiting and keeping our fingers crossed,” he said.