After months of fighting, the Atlanta Public Schools and Atlanta City Council voted Jan. 7 to allow school property taxes to help pay for the $5 billion redevelopment of 40 acres of weedy parking lots and railroad tracks across from Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where the Super Bowl will be held next month.
The redevelopment project, which is expected to transform downtown Atlanta’s skyline, will also be partially financed by Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank.
The school district has been at odds with the city over its plan to use public school funding for the project. Public financing includes up to $1.25 billion in future sales taxes plus $625 million in property taxes collected in the Westside Tax Allocation District (TAD), according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Public school taxes would make up about half of those property taxes, with the remainder from the city and Fulton County.
On Nov. 5, the Atlanta City Council voted to help provide Los Angeles-based CIM Group nearly $1.9 billion in public subsidies to redevelop the area. This includes more than $300 million in future school taxes to pay for the project.
In response, the school district passed a resolution last month calling for written approval before school taxes could be used to pay for new projects, such as the Gulch, in the Westside TAD, the AJC reported. The school district also went to court to oppose the legal step required before bonds for the Gulch can be issued. A court hearing on those objections is set for Jan. 16, although a pending agreement with the city may settle the school district’s objections out of court, according to the AJC. Gulch opponents have said, though, they will continue their legal fight.
Meanwhile, the deal approved last week would allow school taxes to be used for the project through 2038. In exchange, the city would pay the school board $15 million through 2023 and then pay the school system half of its tax increment from 2024 until the TAD closes in 2038, contingent on money left over after paying off the debt and other fees.
Compiled by AJT Staff