Two parcels of city-owned land, totaling about nine-tenths of an acre, may be turned over to the Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority for sale along with the current site of the Tubman African American Museum at 340 Walnut St.
The intent here is to put together an entire quarter block development site downtown as a package for potential developers, said Alex Morrison, UDA executive director.
The Macon City Councils Public Properties Committee voted 4-0 Tuesday, with Councilman Lonnie Miley absent, to approve the resolution from Mayor Robert Reichert. It still faces a vote before the full council Sept. 17.
The UDA already is slated to take possession of the old Tubman building within 30 days of when the museum moves to its new site on Cherry Street, Morrison said. That may happen in early 2015, officials said. The old building is to be sold for redevelopment, with the UDA keeping 10 percent of the proceeds and returning the rest to the Tubman. The city would get the same ratio for its land under the proposed agreement.
Putting the two undeveloped lots at the corner of Walnut Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard together with the Tubman building should make the combined package more attractive to developers, hence more valuable, Morrison said.
If the lots are not sold for development within three years, ownership would revert to the city, the agreement says.
A similar proposal failed a committee vote in May, but Public Properties Committee Chairman Rick Hutto held a long discussion of it again Aug. 27, and it passed Tuesday with no further debate.
The committee also voted 4-0 in favor of a resolution that may speed the sale of other city-owned land.
Assistant City Attorney Christine Helms said when people want to buy land from the city, it must be appraised by the Bibb County Tax Assessors Office. But that can take several weeks.
They have their own priorities and obligations, Helms said.
So the city attorneys office proposes letting buyers pick -- and pay for -- their own appraisers from a city-approved list, as an alternative to waiting for the tax assessor.
They can do either, Helms said.
Helms said the list hasnt been compiled yet, but the city generally is looking for appraisers with experience with road-encroachment issues, since thats part of most requests to buy city land.
Councilwoman Elaine Lucas said the citys suggestions for appraisers could rotate, instead of giving the business all to one person. Helms agreed to Huttos request for the council to see the approved list before it goes into use.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.