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Integral CEO Claims Intimidation To Give Up City Parcel

Integral Group Egbert Perry
Integral Group CEO Egbert Perry

A prominent Atlanta developer claims city officials threatened to block its future projects if it did not sell a parcel of land now home to a public recreation facility.

Integral claims in court filings that senior members of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's administration told CEO Egbert Perry in a 2014 meeting that if the city did not get rights to the property, "We will make it difficult, if not impossible, for you to do business in the City of Atlanta," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The latest claim is part of a lawsuit and ongoing political battle between the developer, Reed and the Atlanta Housing Authority over an agreement established under a prior city administration that gives Integral the right to develop 79 acres of vacant AHA land for mixed-income projects, according to the paper.

AHA filed suits earlier this year to nullify the agreements, with Reed calling the deal "unlawful" and "unethical."

"Egbert Perry is lying," a city spokesperson wrote in response to the AJC's request for comments, claiming Integral was seeking to make "a windfall profit at the expense of Atlanta's low-income families."

An affiliate of Integral sold its interest in the site for more than $1M in credit toward other land purchases, which led the way for the $24M Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation & Aquatic Center that opened last month.

Perry, for his part, has argued that expanding mixed-income projects on the sites would de-concentrate poverty in the area, while also giving the city more affordable housing units, according to the AJC.

Integral maintains that, per the agreement, the AHA will maintain half the ownership interest in the 79 acres and half interest in any future development by Integral and its partners. 

"All the while, AHA assumes none of the development or financial risk," Integral officials stated in an email sent to Bisnow. "All of the 'windfall,' as such term is characterized by the AJC and parroted by Reed, is shared equally between the AHA and the developers, with Integral being one of three private development partners."

Integral also said new projects would still involve affordable housing units. 

"After these last few phases of development are executed as planned, the sites will still contain greater than 50% affordability. These later phases increase the disposable income on site in order to attract and support desirable retailers, and other uses that create a more economically sustainable community," Integral officials said. 

CORRECTION NOV. 7, 3:50 P.M. EST: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the total acreage and value of the land involved in The Integral Group's dispute with the City of Atlanta. The story has been updated to reflect this change, along with a statement from Integral CEO Egbert Perry.