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Developer Seeking Incentives For Big Bethel Tower Redo

Big Bethel Tower, which is being targeted for a $32M makeover as an affordable housing project

An Atlanta developer is looking to the city's main economic development arm for a tax incentive boost to a Sweet Auburn apartment redevelopment.

Invest Atlanta is scheduled to vote on a $14M tax-exempt bond for the redevelopment of Big Bethel Tower, a 180-unit apartment tower off Auburn Avenue, just a few blocks north of Grady Memorial Hospital. The bond will cover development and construction costs for the 21-month development period, and would be paid off with a Housing and Urban Development permanent loan once the project is stabilized, according to Invest Atlanta documents.

In exchange, the developer, Atlanta's The Benoit Group, will set rents at the units at 60% of the area median income. At that rate, one-bedroom units will rent for $759/month and two-bedrooms at $912/month, according to Invest Atlanta documents. The current average Downtown Atlanta rental rate is $1.66/SF, according to a recent Haddow & Co. report, which would allow those units to fetch $1K to $1,200/month.

The $32M project is the first of a three-phase redevelopment of the historic Big Bethel AME Church announced three years ago. Benoit is partnering with Russell New Urban on a $120M project that could eventually include a new student housing community targeted to Georgia State University students, retail and a new parking deck, the Atlanta Business Chronicle previously reported.