Mayor’s Office of Communications
55 Trinity Avenue, Suite 2500 • Atlanta, Georgia 30303
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 09/13/12
Blighted Essex Court Apartments Face Demolition
Removal of vacant apartment complex on Martin Luther King Drive near I-20 comes
at zero cost to Atlanta taxpayers
ATLANTA – Mayor Kasim Reed joined Atlanta City Councilmember C.T. Martin, Police Chief George Turner and the Atlanta Police Department Code Enforcement Section today for the demolition of a vacant, blighted and graffiti-ridden apartment complex along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, a project that comes at zero cost to Atlanta taxpayers.
“Today’s demolition should send a strong signal that the City of Atlanta will not tolerate derelict and neglected properties,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “In this instance, the property owners partnered with the City to tear down these buildings, but, in too many cases, blighted properties become havens of criminal activity. Atlanta’s residents deserve better than that and we are
working diligently to address this challenging issue.”
The apartment complex known as Essex Court was built in 1961 and is located at 1991 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. Since 2003, it has had more than 30 code violations and more than 20 different owners. An adjacent building, located at 1999 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., is also slated for demolition.
“The residents of Council District 10 and I would like to thank the Mayor, his administration and the Bureau of Code Enforcement for ridding our community of this eyesore,” said Martin, who represents the area. “This demonstrates that the city is highly committed to keeping our communities safe and free of areas that attract criminal activity. As we move forward in this endeavor, we are enlisting the assistance of our residents in reporting such breeding grounds for dumping and crime.”
Today’s announcement comes after months of coordinated site visits and negotiations between the different property owners of individual units and Chase/JP Morgan Bank. All parties recently reached an agreement for ownership to transfer to the new owner AM Capital, which will in turn demolish the blighted buildings with plans to redevelop the property. The scope of this demolition would typically cost $250,000.
“As one travels east on I-20 from other states or cities, this is the first impression that they get of Atlanta, and it happens to be located on the street named after Dr. King,” Martin said. “We are in the process of developing a plan to make major improvements to this corridor. It won’t happen overnight. But with partnerships with the community, the administration and property owners, it will happen.”
Also in attendance at Thursday’s announcement were Councilmembers Michael Julian Bond, Aaron Watson and H. Lamar Willis; Deputy Chief Elizabeth Propes and Maj. C.J. Davis; City Solicitor Raines Carter and Assistant Solicitor Erika Smith.
“We know that vacant, blighted properties can be a breeding ground for crime,” said Atlanta Police Chief George Turner. “Working together with our private partners and the community to rid our neighborhoods of these dangerous eyesores is critical to improving our quality of life in the city.”
The City of Atlanta has placed a new emphasis on code enforcement, with a specific emphasis on targeting vacant, blighted properties.
In 2011, code enforcement functions were formally moved to the Atlanta Police Department under the command of Maj. Davis. Under the authority of the APD, the Code Enforcement Section is able to function with deliberate control in resolving housing code violations throughout the City of Atlanta and set in motion strategic plans to address quality of life issues, environmental concerns and improved property value by leveraging all available resources.
The Code Enforcement Section set on a fast track to eliminate the more than 4,500 backlogged cases, address 1,200 inactive cases in the research phase, re-institute judicial in-rem processes and roll out vacant property registration. Judicial in-rem proceedings empower the City to take legal action against nuisance and highly hazardous properties in the absence of the property owner.
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For more information about the City of Atlanta, please visit http://www.atlantaga.gov or watch City Channel 26. Follow the City of Atlanta on Facebook and Twitter @City_of_Atlanta. Follow Mayor Reed on Facebook and Twitter @Kasim Reed.