Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza are original members of the Buckhead Community Improvement District and we have always been supportive of its mission to improve traffic, pedestrian flow and the overall beautification of the area.
Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza have always demonstrated a commitment to Buckhead through our investments in several major improvements that make our community a desirable place to live, work and visit.
We have backed many initiatives to bring parks and green space to the community, including the recent addition of the PATH400 Greenway Trail system. We have supported all initiatives of the BCID that conform with its mission and purpose, and projects that can be funded within its current financial capacity.
We believe this [park over Ga. 400] project goes well beyond the mission and purpose of the BCID. We remain strong supporters of the BCID’s mission and vision of the area but we believe that the near-term transportation needs of the growing community is and should remain the BCID’s top priority, especially as extensive office and apartment developments are currently underway in the area.
The size, cost and scope of the park over Ga. 400 project far exceed any project ever undertaken by the BCID. The current detailed planning and concept design study alone will cost the BCID close to $1 million, and early estimates for the park are $195 million to $245 million. We believe the current approach to this project creates a slippery slope for the BCID, and with our limited resources, will only serve as a distraction [from] more pressing needs.
Due to the substantial ongoing financial burden this project will place on all the paying members of the BCID, and the fact the project falls far outside the boundaries of the BCID’s mission and purpose, we believe any investment in this project should be taken up by the entire membership through a referendum vote, rather than votes conducted as the normal course of business for this board.
The proposed park would primarily benefit the properties abutting the park. Per the initial visioning study, properties within 500 feet of the proposed park can expect a 20 percent to 30 percent increase in real estate values. Several voting board members own property abutting the park, which we believe constitutes a conflict of interest, as board members are the only ones permitted to vote on these commitments.
We simply do not believe this park is the best use of the BCID’s resources at the current time.
— Robin Suggs
Simon Property Group
Editor’s Note: Suggs read this statement on behalf of Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza malls at the Buckhead CID’s Oct. 5 board meeting before a vote to continue design of the park over Ga. 400.