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Some of Atlanta’s biggest real estate companies are asking state legislators to table the Buckhead City proposal, or otherwise, exclude the commercial district of Buckhead from the borders of the potential new city.

Thirty-two companies signed a letter to members of the Georgia General Assembly, saying collectively they represent $4.7 billion worth of real estate in Buckhead and roughly $57 million in annual property taxes.

“Simply put, the risk to our companies, employees, residents, and customers is too great to bet our tax dollars on a start-up city with no experience,” says the letter.

The list of companies includes Cousins Properties, Buckhead’s largest owner of office properties; Jamestown LP, the owner of the Buckhead Village development; Atlanta Tech Village, the startup incubator in Buckhead; and EDENS, a retail developer that owns Andrews Square and Buckhead Marketplace.  

Also on the list are Selig Enterprises, AMLI Residential, Regent Partners, The Loudermilk Cos. and Portman Holdings. Buckhead hotels, including the JW Marriott and Grand Hyatt Buckhead, also signed the letter.

The companies, in the letter, say that breaking Buckhead off from Atlanta would not reduce crime, but instead tarnish the city’s brand.

“A Buckhead City will harm the brand of Buckhead, Atlanta and the state of Georgia,” says the letter. “Our city is known for positive and productive collaboration among public leaders, residents, and the business community. It’s the ‘Atlanta way.’ The initiative to carve up Atlanta casts history aside and divides the city. This will negatively impact economic development across Atlanta and Georgia.”

It also cites other negative impacts such as high start-up costs for a new city and that it would cause “public school chaos.” Read the full letter below.

The letter comes as two pieces of Buckhead City legislation are being considered in the Georgia General Assembly, one in the Senate and in the House. So far, both bills are still in committee.

Cityhood leader Bill White, chairman and CEO of the Buckhead Exploratory Committee, said in a statement that “members of prominent families listed in this letter, along with dozens of their employees, are Buckhead City donors and supporters.”

He added: “To be clear, the Buckhead City Committee has and always will fight for real Buckhead voters and local business owners. We are never surprised when corporate opponents throw up a hail Mary just to make headlines in an attempt to slow our meteoric success. In fact, many of them have already worked for months to undermine and suppress Buckhead’s right to vote on its own destiny.”

Amy Wenk was editor of Reporter Newspapers in 2021-22.