Senoia sells its water tank to movie studio developers

by Alex McRae

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The landmark city water tank in downtown Senoia has been sold to Historic Development Ventures LLC, the company operated by Scott Tigchelaar and Paul Lombardi that has built a series of new structures to transform Senoia into a movie backdrop.

The water tank that towers over downtown Senoia is no longer city property.

A motion to sell the tank was approved unanimously at Monday’s meeting of the Senoia Mayor and City Council.

The 100-foot tank on a half-acre parcel of land on Baggarly Way was sold to Historic Development Ventures, LLC, the development company operated by Scott Tigchelaar and Paul Lombardi.

Several years ago Tigchelaar and Lombardi of what was then Riverwood Studios — now Raleigh Studios Atlanta — began buying up vacant lots and buildings in downtown Senoia to start “The Historic Senoia Project.”

The project’s aim is to redevelop the town and to design new facilities to help the city function as a “living backlot” for film productions.

Purchase price for the water tank was $5,100, and the company was required to provide the city with $10 earnest money.

The city agreed to perform, at city expense, the 10-year industry standard exterior rust removal and complete exterior repaint at the earliest time possible, and prior to any improvements commencing on the property by Historic Development Ventures the city will disconnect the water tower from the city’s water supply.

In the sales agreement city officials represent and warrant, to the best of their knowledge, that the property is environmentally clean, suitable for sale, and upon closing of sale shall be free and clear of any liens or encumbrances. The city made no warranty as to the structural integrity.

The Historic Development Ventures buyers agreed that they may not remove, relocate, or dismantle the water tower except where an appropriate governing authority has ordered such action in accordance with applicable safety standards, deemed it structurally unsafe, or the water tower “has been damaged beyond reasonable repair by an act of God or other catastrophic event.”

The company, under the agreement, may not allow the water tower to be used as an advertisement medium for hire, and will adhere to appropriate policies and procedures for improvements or alterations.

The company agreed to maintain the city’s new logo on the water tower.

The buyers intend to repurpose the property into a tourist attraction, including construction of a restaurant or other structure at the base of the tower to accommodate an elevator.

Plans are for addition of outdoor or glassed-in dining/ seating, a bar/ restaurant in the bowl of the tower, windows added to the bowl of the tower, addition of an elevator and appropriate egress, nighttime illumination, seasonal decoration, and “other improvements as may be required by applicable code.”

The legal firm Warner, Hooper & Ramsey will handle the closing on or before May 1.

Following presentation of the proposal Senoia resident Don Rehman asked to address the council.

Rehman said he did not believe the city should approve the offer which included “no advertisement for hire” and said that in his opinion, the contract language “remaining the same” does not mean adding an elevator and windows to the structure.

Mayor Belisle thanked Rehman for his comments and made a motion to approve the sale. The motion passed unanimously.



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