Mayor Eva Galambos and City Council members wondered why
Sherwin Williams appeared surprised by the move to acquire its parcel at 245 Johnson Ferry Road, during their meeting on Tuesday.
Council members approved a resolution to acquire the property through eminent domain. The parcel is included in plans for the City Center development.
“Sherwin Williams has not been given adequate time to prepare a documented proposal to purchase the property and business,” said Scott Jacobson, attorney for Sherwin Williams.
The business opened on Johnson Ferry Road in 1982, Jacobson said.
He asked City Council for 60 days to show what the property is worth if purchased. Sandy Springs has offered to acquire the property at an appraised value of $1,250,000.
Councilwoman Karen Meinzen McEnerny commented, “I also agree with the rest of the Council. Guys, where have you been? We have been going after this property and the entire town center [area] since 2010. You knew this was coming.”
A letter was sent to Sherwin Williams in 2010 indicating Sandy Springs’ interest in the property, explained City attorney Wendell Willard, but there was no response. City attorneys sent an offer letter to Sherwin Williams in January 2013. Willard said Sherwin Williams answered in February saying they were not willing to sell or negotiate.
In a July 9 response, Sandy Springs attorneys advised Sherwin Williams that they were seeking condemnation.
Jacobson said Sherwin Williams only fully understood after the July letter.
“In the best case scenario for Sherwin Williams the city would withdraw…and not exercise eminent domain…Operating there is in our view wholly compatible with the City Center project,” Jacobson added.
When eminent domain is approved a legal requirement calls for a 30-day period to pass before court filings are allowed, according to Willard; which means Sherwin Williams has an opportunity to negotiate with the city on a purchase price over the next month. If they come to an agreement on the dollar amount, then eminent domain would not have to be exercised.
“Sherwin Williams has been a longstanding citizen and business in Sandy Springs for the last 20-something years. It stuns me that Sherwin Williams didn’t think this city was serious about developing the City Center,” said Councilman John Paulson. “In that regard I sympathize with you. I know everybody wishes these kind of things didn’t happen…It’s not as if this has been a secret.”