MMM Represents WRS, Inc. in Successful Acquisition of Underground Atlanta

April, 2017 - Atlanta, Georgia

The real estate team of Morris, Manning & Martin helped close one of the most prominent real estate deals in Atlanta recently when it successfully represented WRS, Inc. in acquiring Underground Atlanta from the City of Atlanta.

The deal involved two years of negotiations focused on approximately 40 different parcels of land and included air rights above rapid rail and railroad tracks, underground streets and commercial spaces, abandoned roads and alleys, elevated viaducts, springing property rights, tenancies-in-common between the city and the county, and environmental considerations. Interacting with the various applicable governmental entities added further layers of complexity, including zoning issues, political considerations, and accommodations to neighborhood activists. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said earlier this year that it was the most complicated real estate deal the city has ever undertaken.

"There were a lot of twists and turns,” said Andy Williams, who led the MMM team that represented WRS, Inc. “The challenges included the historic nature of the property, including the history of its ownership. It’s honeycombed by rights of way and interests owned by third parties. Because of its configuration, there were a lot of challenges you wouldn’t typically see in an individual deal – or even dozens of deals."

WRS approached MMM to handle the complicated transaction because MMM had the necessary talent, skill and experience that might normally require several different firms. Gerald Pouncey, who brought WRS to the firm, is known nationally for his environmental work in real estate deals. Given the many uses of the land before the transaction, this proved to be critical – as did the firm’s transactional, zoning, litigation and corporate experience.

"MMM has all the various disciplines that came up, and had to be addressed, under one roof,” Williams said. “We were particularly well-equipped to handle this."

To learn more about the deal, including WRS’ plans for a live/work/play community on the site, click here for the official announcement from the office of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.