Mystery, intrigue and controversy about public funding have swirled around a little slice of land on 13th Street — and answers are emerging at last. Simply put, public bonds approved to help a swanky Midtown apartment tower get built as early as next year are a product of the Recession. The beginning of the Recession, that is. Dr. Eloisa Klementich of Invest Atlanta (a.k.a. the Atlanta Development Authority) confirmed that her organization will play a role in financing the development of Yoo on the Park, a 25-story tower tucked into a small lot at 207 13th St. Namely, Invest Atlanta will offer up about $60 million in public bonds for a lease-purchase agreement. Over a 10-year period, developer Tivoli will pay taxes starting at 50 percent and increasing 5 percent annually. That's news but, according to Klementich, not anything new. She said Invest Atlanta offered to help out with the project when it was originally proposed in 2008, when development in Midtown and pretty much everywhere else was grinding to a halt. "They couldn't find financing," Klementich said. Invest Atlanta's stated goals of helping encourage growth in undeveloped areas was mostly a fit, they thought.
After the bonds were approved, though, litigation began — five years of it. All that ended this July and, according to Klementich, her organization couldn't exactly renege. The angle is a little different but thanks to an estimated $87 million in future economic output for the city, Invest Atlanta can legally chip in, Klementich said. The bonds aren't direct financing but "help make their balance sheet look better, which then allows them to use that attraction to attract more financing to the project," she said. The bond transaction should be completed in a week or two, she added; if the project never happens, the developer gets no benefits.
As far as the actual project: Crews started moving dirt on the site between Juniper and Piedmont earlier this month. Klementich confirmed rumors that construction on the 245-unit tower is slated to begin around the start of next year.
Believed to be a partnership with super-modern international design group Yoo and Starck, the project is also expected to include 1,200 (yes, 1,200) square feet of retail. Last Invest Atlanta had heard, Klementich said, that space would be something along the lines of a small restaurant/coffee shop/sandwich shop.
— By Curbed Atlanta contributor Tyler Estep
· Public Cash For Luxe Midtown Tower? (And A Rendering?) [Curbed Atlanta]