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Follow-Up: The Skinny on Those Tax Breaks From Dekalb County for Sembler and Town Brookhaven

As you may recall, last week we took a look at the progress of Town Brookhaven. Particularly close readers of Curbed Atlanta may have noticed a lengthy, thoughtful comment from an anonymous reader on the piece, which made some excellent points about the positive aspects of Town's gathering momentum, but also called into question the viability of from-scatch 'town'-style developments that often seem like big box shopping centers on steroids (with some architectural details added for good measure). At the end, the Commenter posed a question regarding the tax relief Sembler received from Dekalb County on the project. We dimly recalled the hubbub surrounding the issue (get the full scoop here and here, there was some legitimate political drama involved) a few years back and was interested in the outcome ourselves, so we dug around a little bit. As it turns out, Sembler got a 10-year property tax abatement (estimated to be worth $20 million) for the project, but not the full abatement worth some $52 million that it sought in the midst of the popping of the real estate bubble. And though we weren't able to determine it quite as definitively, it appears that neither the original developer (Dan Woodley) of the mixed-use Village Place project on Dresden Drive nor its financiers (Wrightwood Capital) who later took the project back, received any tax incentives from Dekalb County. On a related note, that Sembler tax break has new-found relevance as Dekalb County CEO Burrell Ellis attempts to beat back efforts to create a City of Brookhaven.