The location — 6196 Roswell Road — is integral to the city center project as it has been designated as the site of the new city headquarters.
The city’s governing body voted 5-1 at its meeting Tuesday at City Hall to invoke its right to eminent domain — viewed as a last resort in the event other means of facilitating the property’s changing hands break down.
District 4 Councilman Gabriel Sterling casted the lone dissenting vote.
“I hate eminent domain — I think we all know that — especially with an existing business, so I’m inclined to vote no on this particular one,” Sterling said. “Also, [Master Kleen] has been my drycleaner since I was 16 years old.
“I understand the rationale and the intentions of those who will vote for this, but I hope we [ultimately] come through with a resolution through mediation.”
The city and the longtime owners have been involved in negotiations over the acquisition of the aforementioned property since 2010.
Before proceeding with the eminent domain vote, council members discussed deferring the vote pending the outcome of the next scheduled round of acquisition talks.
Mayor Rusty Paul scoffed at that notion, arguing that delaying a decision would be counterproductive.
“We’ve already spent $20 million in taxpayer money on this [city center] project, Paul said. “I understand your hesitancy … but, every day that goes by, the cost of the project goes up.”
District 5 Councilman Tibby DeJulio seconded Paul’s assertion.
“We made the decision to move forward. … Time to fish or cut bait,” he said.