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South Cobb’s “Hole in the Ground” Magnolia Crossing


As millions are spent to entice and support economic development in other parts of Cobb County, the South Cobb community continues to hold its breath, waiting for our turn to receive good economic dollars, as well as promised leadership, to move our community forward.

Years have passed since Magnolia Crossing, 50 acers of prime real estate, first became dormant. We continue to see other parts of the county develop and proposer, with no plans put in place to develop this land in our community into anything meaningful for the benefit of the South Cobb community.

Magnolia Crossing is not just another parcel of land. It enjoys a beautiful Atlanta Skyline as its backdrop, provides easy access to major highways, and is minutes from Atlanta and the international airport. It is a developers dream property, but yet no dirt has been turned on the property since the apartments were razed in 2016. Even though members of the community routinely went before the Cobb Commission and Cobb Redevelopment Authority to demand leadership on developing the land, we were simply ignored by those in charge.

Each week, we see the latest breaking news headlines of leaders of other communities, and their development arms, taking major steps to turn huge desolate areas and large parcels of unused land in their communities into economic success stories.

For example, the Doraville GM plant, which sat dormant for years, will now become home to the largest TV and movie production studio in the state. The development will include housing and other retail, which leaders hope will turn the area into an economic titan. In addition to bringing back good paying jobs to the area, they plan for a 127-acre mixed-use community that will include apartments, townhomes, hotels, corporate offices, restaurants, and retail space, as well as 10 state-of-the-art television and movie production studios and a gaming facility.

In Commerce, Georgia, SK Innovation, the South Korean company behind one of the biggest economic development projects in Georgia’s history, is building a $2.6 billion dollar factory to make electric vehicle batteries.

South of the City of Atlanta, the Fort McPherson Local Redevelopment Authority entered into a 45-day exclusive negotiation with T.D. Jakes for the potential purchase and development of 132 acres at the former Atlanta Army base. This parcel of land represents the remaining acres of property not used by media mogul Tyler Perry for the Tyler Perry Studios.

Just to the west of our community, the New York company behind Rockefeller Center, is the lead partner in an agreement to purchase the West End Mall. After demolishing the existing building, the developer promises to turn the area into a 1.3 million square foot mixed-use complex with retail, office space, and market-priced apartments and condos. Lastly, new housing and retail developments are going up along Bankhead Highway leading into the City of Atlanta.

Seeing all of this development occurring in other communities, the South Cobb community has asked over and over again, what was the plan South Cobb leaders when you displaced so many families from the apartments that once stood on those acres? Where was the leadership in determining next steps? Whose job was it to ensue that our community did not get stuck with a hole in the ground?

The South Cobb community reads the headlines and we see millions going to Papa Johns to relocate to the Battery and millions spent to provide security to the Braves, with none of these expenditures providing positive relief or trickle-down economics for South Cobb. Those of us who watched as millions were allocated to lure the Braves from Atlanta to Cobb County continue to wait for the fulfillment of the promises that our part of the county would benefit from Cobb spending that amount of taxpayer dollars to bring a sports team to the Cumberland area.

A few years ago, we participated in good faith in a marketing study that was undertaken by the South Cobb Redevelopment Authority to determine how best to develop Magnolia Crossing. The community was explicit in telling them we wanted good economic development – which included a mixed-use development focused on affordable housing, grocery stores, banking, health services, and restaurants, among other things. That survey, which cost $45,000, was a dog and pony show for the community and a good payday for the company that was selected to conduct it. The land remains dormant to this day as we continue to read headlines on development in other communities around the metro.

In the backdrop are “hushed” whispers that conversations are being had to push warehouses for the Magnolia Crossing real estate, instead of the economic development that is being demanded by the community. If true, this would serve as yet another blow to our community, a continued hinderance in allowing us to move forward similar to other communities in Cobb, and the continuation of a lack of leadership in our community on economic development issues. Unlike these other communities that have seen economic boom and continued development, it is obvious that we do not have vision nor leadership at the helm, so the South Cobb community will continue to suffer until we step forward and say enough is enough.

SPOTLIGHT will continue to monitor this matter and bring you the latest information as it develops on Magnolia Crossing. To keep the conversation going, visit out Facebook Page.

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