Suburban Developer Endangers Plans For Atlanta Beltline

A week after its glowing profile in the New York Times, Atlanta's Beltline project could now be in jeopardy as a suburban developer threatens to sell his critical piece of the proposed transit corridor.
September 13, 2006, 9am PDT | Alex Pearlstein
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"The investor who owns more than five miles of the Beltline in northeast Atlanta is taking a preliminary step to withdraw his offer to donate about 46 acres for public parks, trails and transit."

"In a letter dated today, the company headed by Gwinnett County investor Wayne Mason started a process that could result in the sale of the actual corridor of train tracks. The rail corridor is about 30 feet wide and runs the entire length of the 5 1/2-mile-long section of the Beltline that Mason bought in 2004 from Norfolk Southern Railway Co."

"Mason's company, the Northeast Atlanta Beltline Group, offered to donate land for public use when the company filed rezoning applications on the rest of its property in June 2005. The offer was based in part on Mason's plan to develop, or sell for development, five pockets of land along the rail corridor and use those profits to offset the cost of the donation."

"Mason's ownership of about a quarter of the actual Beltline corridor has been a flash point among Beltline advocates for the past 15 months. Many envisioned a leafy trail around the city, flanked by parks and ice cream shops, that would be built largely with property taxes collected in a special tax district around the Beltline. Mason's development plans were a sharp reality check that caused residents to realize that the private sector may have different ideas."

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Published on Monday, September 11, 2006 in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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