Ever since its plan was revealed in 2006, Town Brookhaven has been mired in controversy, which included heated debate over tax incentives for the mixed-use development and the resignation of an official involved with the agency that approves such tax breaks.
Eugene Walker stepped down as chairman of the DeKalb County Development Authority in August after he drew complaints from residents and public officials for supporting an unprecedented tax break for Town Brookhaven developer Sembler Co., which had donated $18,000 last year when he successfully ran for the county school board.
Sembler was initially granted a 10-year tax abatement, estimated at $20 million to be gradually implemented each year. But as the economy soured, Sembler sought to enhance the tax break, requesting a $52-million 100-percent abatement. The request was withdrawn after community pushback expressed concerns that it would take tax revenue away from education. That led to a review and revision of the authority’s policies.
The 54-acre development on Peachtree Road adjacent to Oglethorpe University calls for 50 specialty shops and 24 restaurants and was originally planned to open early in 2009.
This spring is the new target date. Sembler has announced the signing of four anchor tenants— Publix, Costco, LA Fitness and CineBistro, an upscale dinner-and-a-movie house.