An underdeveloped, barren stretch of land in downtown Atlanta widely known as “The Gulch” will be getting some major upgrades in the coming future.
For the last several months, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has been working transform the downtown area, according to a city press release.
Once a rail yard, the site – which sits mainly between Ted Turner Drive NW, Martin Luther King, Jr., Drive SW, Centennial Olympic Park Drive NW and Marietta Street – has sat purposelessly for 50 years in what many consider some of the city’s most prime real estate. But for years, the parcels that make up The Gulch haven’t generated any tax revenue for the city.
With the city’s assistance, the CIM Group real estate firm will begin a mixed-use development in The Gulch, revitalizing the 13 blocks of unused land. At least 20 percent of the development will be reserved for affordable housing with a minimum of 200 units.
“At roughly the equivalent of thirty football fields, this will be the largest development of its kind in Atlanta’s history and in the entire Southeast,” Bottoms said. “Our administration is proud to help make this a reality.”
According to the city, bond money generated for the project could reach upwards of a billion dollars and would primarily come from two sources: the Westside Tax Allocation District (TAD) and the Enterprise Zone Bond (EZ Bond).
Last year, Georgia’s State Legislature passed HB342, which stipulates that any urban redevelopment project in excess of $400 million can qualify for a sales tax exemption. The EZ bonds would allow CIM to use roughly four cents of the 8.9 cents total tax. That money comes from the state’s share of the sales tax, not Atlanta’s.
Additionally, with the approval of the Atlanta City Council, the lifespan of the Westside TAD would be extended 10 years to 2048 to help pay off the city’s expenses from the development. The city did not pledge any portion of its general funds toward the project, according to the release.
Once The Gulch project is online, 20 percent of the TAD bond proceeds generated within its boundaries will be applied toward other projects in the neighborhoods within the Empowerment Zone and West of the Empowerment Zone.
The city declined to specify when the redevelopment would begin or how long it will take.