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A Fulton County judge is barring BellSouth from building a 900,000 sf, $750 million mixed-use project until he rules on allegations from residents that the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority and the city of Atlanta are violating state statutes.

The residents’ lawsuit charges MARTA and the city are illegally using public funds to prepare a site for BellSouth’s private development. MARTA has spent $2.45 million out of a planned $40 million budget to date on the site work.

The suit also alleges the entire project, including 10,000 parking spaces, will create unmanageable traffic congestion and damage the neighborhood’s value.

BellSouth’s first-phase development plans call for the construction of two 450,000 sf office towers on a three-acre pad owned by MARTA. BellSouth is leasing the land for 30 years. The overall project will cover five million sf of mixed-use properties on 47 acres at Lindbergh in south Buckhead. Lindbergh is a railroad station site and MARTA headquarters.

BellSouth wants to relocate 3,500 employees into the planned Lindbergh towers in 2002. The company’s $750 million Metro Plan would consolidate much of its 10,500-person work force in live-work-play developments around three MARTA stations to help reduce traffic and air pollution in the metro area.

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