Atlanta, public schools reach agreement for $5B Gulch
- Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ office announced Monday that the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) System have reached an agreement on development bonds for the $5 billion Gulch project. The school system will now drop its objections to the validation of the estimated $40 million of bonds that will help finance the project.
- As part of the agreement, through 2038, the school system will continue to participate in the Westside Tax Allocation District (TAD) but, along with the city and state, support the Gulch project. This, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, means that APS will give up property tax revenue from the tax-allocation district. However, the city will reimburse the school system for up to $15 million through 2023 for projects in the TAD. APS will also participate in Atlanta’s four commercial TADs for 30 years, and the city will pay off bonds for yet another TAD and make annual payments in lieu of taxes on behalf of APS through the life of that TAD.
- “Today’s agreement brings the city to the final stages of what truly represents public-private innovation at its finest, revolutionizing economic development in Atlanta for generations to come,” said Bottoms. “The passage of the APS Intergovernmental Agreement will elevate Atlanta’s schools, ensure more equitable development across the city and kickstart the transformation of the Gulch — one of the most significant redevelopment projects in the history of Atlanta."
The bonds are just part of a nearly $2 billion package of incentives the Atlanta City Council authorized in November, all of which is geared toward helping developer CIM Group make the ambitious Gulch project a reality. In return, CIM has agreed to provide a $50 million-plus community benefits package that includes affordable housing as well as economic and workforce development.
CIM will raise the site approximately 40 feet to street level using a steel and concrete platform, an undertaking estimated at $500 million. Vertical construction is scheduled to include nine towers. Each will rise to at least 225 feet, with one slated to be 500 feet tall. In total, the project will include 9 million square feet of office space; 1,000 residences; 1,500 hotel rooms; and 1 million square feet of retail.
Although Perkins+Will has worked up preliminary renderings for the project, there is no word as to whether CIM has a general contractor or construction manager in mind. However, CIM has agreed to set aside 38% of construction contracts for minority- and women-owned businesses, another condition of the $2 billion incentive package to which the city agreed.
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