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In Efforts To Save The Gulch Deal, Mayor Bottoms Scraps Tax District Extension

Renderings of the plaza level of CIM's planned Gulch redevelopment in Downtown Atlanta.

In its battle to get a record-making incentive package past city council members, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has done away with contentious plans to extend the Westside Tax Allocation District by another decade.

In the new proposal, the most Los Angeles-based CIM Group could borrow in bonds from the Westside TAD would be $40M, down from $625M, according to the mayor's office. Bond financing would be funded by future tax revenue generated by the potential $5B redevelopment of the Gulch property in Downtown Atlanta.

By capping future tax revenue, CIM will now be encouraged to redevelop the property faster, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The original incentive package would have allowed CIM Group to reap up to $1.75B in incentives if it fully realizes a $5B mixed-use project on the 40-acre Downtown Atlanta site, with plans for 9M SF of office, 1M SF of retail space and hundreds of hotel rooms and apartments, some of which would be designated for affordable housing.

But that package encountered resistance both among the public and with members of the city council. While the new proposal would value the package at $1.9B, the new deal relies more heavily on bonds, meaning long-term taxpayer costs would likely be less, the AJC reported, with the Westside TAD sunsetting in 2038. The next vote is scheduled for Nov. 5.

“I’ve heard it’s all lemony fresh and all these subsidies have been knocked way down and it’s pay-as-you-go, and CIM assumes all this risk and they’ve got to get all this done in a short time frame,” Atlanta City Councilman Howard Shook, who opposed the original deal, told the AJC. “That’s what I’m hoping to see when I read through it.”