ATLANTA-In a novel approach to land assemblage, local developer Wayne Mason has contracted with Virginia-based Norfolk Southern Corp. to buy a prime 67-acre Downtown tract for $25 million or $373,134 per acre ($8.57 per sf). The land encompasses a 4.6-mile railroad track corridor running from DeKalb Avenue to Piedmont Park to Interstate 85.

The closing date on the deal hasn’t been announced. Mason hasn’t decided what he will build on the land but is considering high-rise condos, area industrial brokers familiar with the transaction tell Known locally as the Belt Line, city planners have long wanted to convert the tracks into an intown transit system.

Brokers following the transaction say Mason favors the city’s transit system plan but also wants to develop 200 feet of adjacent track land. If the city sets up the track property as a special zone, or a tax allocation district, developers such as Mason would receive tax breaks, brokers tell

The city has established similar zones for the $2-billion, 132-acre Atlantic Station redevelopment in Midtown and commercial and residential projects near Centennial Olympic Park.

Mason, the former chairman of the Gwinnett County board of commissioners, partnered with the late developer Kim King in buying the shuttered, 1.5-acre Gold Club nightclub property in December 2003 for an estimated $3 million. The site is near the Lindbergh Marta rapid-rail station and BellSouth’s Buckhead offices where Mason plans to develop a high-rise condo tower.

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