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ATLANTA-Mayor Shirley Franklin’s office confirms the city shortly will be asking developers for proposals on redeveloping its most under-used asset–the 77-year-old, two-million-sf City Hall East complex on Ponce de Leon Avenue.

The three-wing, 10-story structure houses the city’s police and fire departments as well as several other administrative departments. The building is 75% vacant, the city confirms. The multi-million-dollar redevelopment on 15 acres would be one of the largest Downtown projects in decades, according to area brokers.

The intown property has caught the eye of several developers. Liburn, GA developer Emory Morsberger was among the first to envision turning the structure into a mix of retail shops and entertainment attractions, along with the development of 800 loft residences.

The most recent development group to surface, the Phoenix Team, also sees the creation of shops, restaurants and residential as the right mix that would form the nucleus of an entire new city neighborhood, area brokers following the project tell GlobeSt.com.

The Phoenix Team,includes some of the city’s biggest name developers and planners with Stephen Macauley serving as the project’s lead developer. Among the Phoenix participants are Jerome Russell, president, H.J. Russell & Co.; Mark Randall, vice president, Wood Partners; Ronald Stang, an architect at Stevens & Wilkinson Stang & Newdow; residential developer James Cowart and partner George Berkow; William Sullivan and Robert “Bo” Jackson of Birmingham, AL-based Colonial Properties Trust; and Robert Brown Jr., president, R.L. Brown & Associates, architects, Decatur, GA.

The city has owned the building since 1991 when it bought the property for $12 million. The Atlanta Urgan Design Commission confirms the structure was originally built along Ponce deLeon Avenue in 1926; increased in size in 1929; and added new sections in 1946 and 1971.

City Hall East sits along the Decatur Belt Line, the former service railroad owned by Norfolk Southern. Brokers tell GlobeSt.com another previously discussed amenity proposed by the city council is an intown transit line that would use railroad right-of-way land around the central city. That undertaking would instantly boost the value of the redeveloped property for new businesses and residents, area brokers say.

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