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October 4, 2018

Metro Atlanta Chamber Comes Out In Favor of Gulch Deal

In advance of City Council’s October 15th meeting, the Metro Atlanta Chamber has provided a letter of support for the $5 billion Gulch deal, as well as independent resources to assist City Council as they assess the complex deal.

Hala Moddelmog, MAC President and CEO, highlighted key facts in the letter:

  • CIM will privately fund up to $700 million to build a platform that will provide the foundation for future development of the Gulch.
  • CIM will contribute a total of $59 million in community benefits, including funds for job training, affordable housing and community redevelopment.
  • When development is in place and generating revenue, the city will begin collecting its portion of sales tax revenue (3.9% sales tax rate). At the same time, the state’s (4%) sales tax rate and the local option sales tax (1%) generated from retail sales occurring on the property will begin to reimburse the initial infrastructure costs.
  • There is no risk to the City of Atlanta: The city does not guarantee the bonds. The city has not pledged any existing tax dollars to the bonds. CIM will be the sole initial purchaser of the bonds and will assume all financial risk; not the city of Atlanta or the state. The bonds are the responsibility of the developer. Any loss under the bonds will not be the city’s responsibility, it will be CIM’s.
  • Thirty-eight percent (38%) of project costs will be directed to women or minority-owned firms. Additionally, CIM will make a series of direct investments that will impact economic mobility, including: $12 million for a community development fund, $2 million in job training and $28 million for an affordable housing fund.
  • The project will comprise up to 3,000 new housing units, including at least 20 percent permanent affordable housing units (compared to the typical 20 years or less).
  • The capacity space for passenger rail is being preserved. It will neither increase nor diminish because of this development. The status quo is unaffected, and the development doesn’t preclude any future rail activities.

"We recognize the complexity of the project, the more than 600 pages of documents and third-party reviews that must be contemplated and reconciled before a vote can occur. We applaud the Council for requesting additional time to work with the Mayor’s office, citizens, developer, businesses and community groups to vet this important project," Moddelmog wrote. And in her conclusion, "we are clear that the redevelopment of the Gulch is an imperative worthy of deliberate, timely and thoughtful consideration. As we work toward our mission of making metro Atlanta more vibrant and prosperous, breathing new life into downtown Atlanta is a clear priority."

Read the full letter here.

More coverage from the AJC here.