Historic Morris Brown College in Atlanta might have a new buyer soon.
According to the AJC, the city of Atlanta is prepared to make an offer to purchase Morris Brown’s property.
The city has made an offer to purchase the Morris Brown College campus. The $12.6 million offer, made in conjunction with Friendship Baptist Church, proposes giving a portion of the 37-acre property to the church and allows Morris Brown to retain its historic buildings. The college filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
Invest Atlanta managing director Eloisa Klementich said under the proposal, Atlanta will spend $9 million on the property. Friendship Baptist, one of two churches that sold to make way for the new Atlanta Falcons stadium, will contribute $3.6 million. Invest Atlanta is the city’s economic development agency.
If the offer is accepted, Atlanta would take control of such amenities as the college’s stadium, officials said.
Klementich said the city has myriad reasons for pursuing the property, including helping to redevelop the nearby communities and the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive corridor. The deal would also allow Morris Brown to continue offering educational programs.
“It’s an opportunity to make sure there’s a comprehensive and cohesive strategy around what’s happening in this very important part of town, making sure we’re supporting jobs and economic development as much as we can,” she said. “That’s the vision for us at this point.”
Bids to purchase the college, which faces about $30 million in debt, were due Wednesday. Morris Brown, located near the future Falcons stadium near Northside and Martin Luther King Jr. Drives, hired brokerage firm Jones Lang LaSalle to market the property.
Those officials, in conjunction with the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which has loaned the college millions to pay its debts, and Clark Atlanta University, which has a claim on a 17 acres of the property, will review the bids. Mayor Kasim Reed said in a statement Thursday that partnering with Friendship allows both parties a “critical stake” in the revitalization of the area.
“If we succeed in this bid, it will bring much-needed stability and cohesiveness to these communities as we embark on a determined effort to spur job creation, civic engagement and business investment to the historic neighborhoods of Vine City and English Avenue,” Reed’s statement read.
Atlanta officials are playing an active role in the construction of the future $1.3 billion Atlanta Falcons stadium, including issuing $200 million in bonds backed by hotel-motel taxes for stadium construction. The stadium is within walking distance of the Morris Brown campus.
The college hopes to move fast on its future as the procedures requested any interested bidders to be able to finalize the deal by May 31, pending court approval.
Morris Brown president Stanley Pritchett could not be reached for comment Thursday.