A birds-eye view of The Gulch project, which sits adjacent to State Farm Arena and Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Courtesy CIM Group)

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has presented a new deal for The Gulch development to the Atlanta City Council. The council had been expected to discuss The Gulch at a special called meeting on Oct. 24, but the mayor asked that any consideration be removed from the agenda until the new deal could be presented.

According to a media release from the mayor’s office, Bottoms’ office has been in negotiations with CIM Group to significantly alter the deal to redevelop the 40-acre parcel adjacent to Mercedes-Benz Stadium into a massive mixed-use development with office, residential and retail space. As part of the new agreement, the maximum authorized TAD (tax allocation district) bond amount has been reduced from $625 million to $40 million.

“Our team has worked nonstop over the last several months to structure a deal that would not just bring much needed development to the westside of downtown, but most importantly, would benefit communities throughout Atlanta,” Bottoms said in the statement. “With the inclusion of millions of dollars towards affordable and workforce housing, economic development, and job training, this historic agreement is vastly different than any other negotiated by our City.”

The new plan, which has been presented to the Atlanta City Council for their review includes a number of redefined terms which place more financial responsibility on CIM Group while “preserving over $150 million in previously non-existent public purposes initiatives focused on affordable housing, safety and economic development.”

Terms in the agreement shared with city council include:

  • CIM assuming all financial risk including all design and construction expenses and serving as the sole purchaser of the new TAD bonds
  • CIM paying taxes in full, only receiving the benefit of TAD supplemental payments as reimbursements once compliance on obligations and expenses has been independently verified. For qualified expenses, Invest Atlanta will make reimbursement payments to CIM for up to 12.5% of total project costs or through 2038, whichever occurs first
  • Reducing TAD bond proceeds available to CIM from $500 million to $32 million, with up to $8 million in bond proceeds available to Empowerment Zone Communities

One selling point that Bottoms’ administration has returned to again and again in its campaign to “Greenlight the Gulch” is that there is hardly any tax revenue generated by the Gulch property. The administration maintains that the CIM Group project will generate approximately $21 million to $35 million in property tax annually.

Bottoms also touted the community benefits agreement negotiated with CIM to include.

  • $28 million investment into a citywide affordable housing fund
  • Required minimum affordable housing residential units of 200 or 20%, whichever is greater
  • $2 million commitment for workforce training
  • $12 million investment into a citywide economic development fund
  • Commitment to historic levels of minority and female owned businesses with a goal of at least 38% utilization and an offer of 10% equity
  • $12 million commitment towards the construction of a new seven-bay fire station

The Atlanta City Council has posted web links to the new legislation related to the Gulch Project online at these links:

  1. Letter from Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to Council President Felicia Moore and Members of the Atlanta City Council
  2. Gulch Enterprise Zone Approval Documentation
  3. Amendments to Existing Westside Tax Allocation District (TAD) Bond Document Amendments
  4. Gulch Area TAD Documents

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

2 replies on “Mayor presents new Gulch deal to Atlanta City Council”

  1. Now that all the smoke has cleared on the Mayor ALBottoms’ Teams’ development adjustments / offerings to the Gulch, it becomes clear that there is really no vision for inclusion of any Multi-Modal Mixed-Use Transit Oriented Development that would lead us into the next 100 years. We will forever wonder what became of the great vision worked over and presented to Atlanta funded by the Feds, State, City, Mayor and Business Community leaders a few years back. This transit site, connected to many transit options, centered in the middle of downtown Atlanta and its sports and entertainment district, is crying for something much larger in scale that is inclusive of the greater Metropolitan Atlanta Community overall. Wake up Leaders of the City of Atlanta, for this is your only chance to make this the urban nucleus of Downtown Atlanta and a way to start assisting in solving so many of the transit issues this city in mired in!

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