State Farm’s developer will no longer seek a $15 million tax abatement on its regional headquarters building that is already under construction.

“As a mutual company with our primary goal to provide products with the best value to our customers, we consider existing and available incentive opportunities,” said State Farm spokesperson Phil Supple in an email.

The State Farm regional headquarters building under construction at Hammond Drive and Perimeter Center Parkway. (Photo Dyana Bagby)
The State Farm regional headquarters building under construction at Hammond Drive and Perimeter Center Parkway. (Photo Dyana Bagby)

“After reviewing the timing of the request and that of the first phase of construction with [building developer] KDC and the Development Authority, we decided to modify our request to include only the proposed second phase of the project.”

Some Dunwoody Development Authority members were hesitant in July to approve a tax abatement for the building now under construction because tax incentives are typically approved for new projects.

Michael Starling, the city’s director of economic development and executive director of the Dunwoody Development Authority, said in an interview that KDC did not give him a reason why they backed off the tax abatement request for the first building.

He did say one could assume the reason why after recent media reports on the request.

Dallas-based KDC, developer for the $650 million, 21-story State Farm regional center on Hammond Drive across the street from the Dunwoody MARTA station, is still seeking more than $33 million in tax abatements for two other office buildings yet to be built along Perimeter Center Parkway.

KDC told DDA members in July the tax breaks are needed to be able to start construction of the new buildings in 2017 rather than the originally proposed 2019.

The original tax abatement for all three buildings totaled a savings of some $48 million.

For the new buildings, State Farm would receive more than $33 million in property tax abatements over about 17 years, according to Starling. The DDA is expected to vote to approve a “memorandum of understanding” with State Farm at its Sept. 27 meeting approving the tax breaks. The MOU outlines specifics of the tax abatements.

As part of the second phase, State Farm plans to make “significant public improvements,” said Starling, and a reason to give the tax breaks is to get those sooner, including road and sidewalk improvements in Perimeter Center.

In a Sept. 11 presentation to the Dunwoody Homeowners Association, Starling gave an overview of how the city approves tax abatements.

State Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody), a member of the DHA, said the perception of tax breaks to State Farm “doesn’t sit well with the public” after the company stated at its opening there were no plans to seek abatements.

Transwestern, the developer of a planned 16-story office building adjacent to the Dunwoody MARTA station and across the street from State Farm, is seeking a tax abatement for its project. The developers could save more than $14 million in property taxes over about 12 years if the MOU is approved Sept. 27.

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.