|This morning, we caught up with Atlanta Regional Commission chairman Tad Leithead and Hines' John Heagy at Hines' 2011 Portfolio Speaker Series at 1180 Peachtree. Hines had Tad and McKenna, Long & Aldridge partner Steven Labovitz speak about theissues facing the region in terms of growth and the economy. The most immediate concern is passing funding for transportation projects (funded by a potential additional 1% sales tax). Tad says an exec committee is now evaluating a wish list of some $30B in transportation projects but will have a final list whittled down to $8B to $10B by September or October to bring before a referendum vote. No one knows what will be on that list, but Tad says he believes projects that could alleviate ?bottlenecks? along the highways will be important, like improvements to I-285 and Georgia 400, I-20, and I-285 and Spaghetti Junction interchanges. ?There's just got to besomething for everybody? to appeal to residents outside of Atlanta.
|Steven (the center of CRE's Three Tenors) says that only public-private partnerships will ?develop anything in this environment.? And, he says, there are other ways outside of Tax Allocation Districts (TADs) to get those funding mechanisms in play, includingenergy credits from the federal stimulus for LEED projects, pilot bonds, and credits for impact fees. Steven even says that a new sales tax program that allows 25% of sales tax around a major tourism-related project could be used to help pay for its construction, a move that could be used to finance a new Falcons stadium.
|We met the great CRE analyst David Haddow and Hines' Brian Eichenseer at the event as well. David tells us the apartment market will probably be the one sector that actually sees new development in Atlanta in the coming months (he should know since developers consult with him on project viability). ?The fundamentalsare just better,? he says.