Two long-vacant houses aren’t the ideal neighbors for Allen Road Park. But in a possible redevelopment deal, part of the properties may add to that city green space.

The 60-year-old houses at 75 and 85 Allen Road have been targeted by city Code Enforcement officers in recent years amid unsuccessful sales attempts. Morris Nejat, a New York City medical doctor brokering the latest sale on behalf of his father-in-law, says that a better future appears to be coming.

The vacant house at 75 Allen Road, immediately next to Allen Road Park, as it appeared last month. (John Ruch)

“We’re in contract with a development company that wants to obviously take down those houses and put something much nicer in the area and maybe work with the park next door to maybe give some land to the park,” said Nejat.

Nejat declined to identify the developer, but said the proposal involves a commercial development and that land donation to the park. He added that within a few weeks, it should become clear whether the deal will work out. If it doesn’t, he said, “a lot of other developers are waiting” to make an offer.

The burst of interest is no coincidence. Nejat worked with the city to get the property reclassified from single-family residential to “office mixed-use” in the new zoning code that went into effect late last year.

The area of 75 and 85 Allen Road, next to Allen Road Park, as shown on a Google Earth map.

City Councilmember Chris Burnett, whose District 3 includes the area, said he sees a lot of positives if the zoning speeds redevelopment.

“Surrounding residents and business owners would certainly like to see these abandoned houses replaced by a high-quality project, so hopefully the new zoning designation will allow this to happen,” Burnett said in an email. “An expansion of the Allen Road Park could also be a great amenity for the community, so perhaps the city could consider this in the future if these sites become available.”

The 3-acre park, located at Allen Road and Lake Forrest Drive, features sports courts, a playground and a nature trail.

The vacant house at 85 Allen Road. (John Ruch)

Boarded-up houses are a rarity anywhere in Sandy Springs, let alone sandwiched between a city park and bustling Roswell Road, on a street that recently became home to the luxurious Cliftwood apartments and a large John Wieland Homes development.

Nejat could not recall exactly how long his father-in-law, Adel Milsoof of Roswell, had owned the properties or how long they had been vacant, but said it was many years. County property records showed Milsoof transferred both properties into the ownership of a real estate trust in 2016 and bought the house at 85 Allen in 2007. The next pre-2016 sale of 75 Allen was in 1983, according to county records, but they do not identify the buyer or the seller.

Nejat said Milsoof bought the houses as redevelopment investments, but those plans had not worked out. City Code Enforcement records show one or both properties getting citations of various sorts as early as 2009. The citations — including unsecured property, trash and uncut grass — culminated in a 2016 court appearance where Milsoof was fined $500, according to city spokesperson Dan Coffer. Code Enforcement was back last year, but noted in reports that Nejat was now brokering a sale.

The two properties, totaling about 1.5 acres, were listed by Nejat for $1.4 million.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.