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Future Unclear for Doraville GM Site as City, Developers Mull Plan B

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DeKalb school officials’ hesitance at tax plan could change project dynamic

Getting stoked about the potential rebirth of the old General Motors site? Don't hold your breath.

Without unanimous support for a tax plan to fund needed infrastructure, the future of the mini-city known as "Assembly" at the sprawling former site of General Motors in Doraville could now be in limbo, according to the AJC.

While Doraville and DeKalb County have signed on to take part in a TAD — or tax allocation district — the DeKalb County School Board has declined to even vote on the measure, which could (have) provide(d) tens of millions for infrastructure to link the site to the city and nearby MARTA station.

Meanwhile, the City of Doraville and site developers Integral Group are working on a backup plan to raise the funds.

A couple months back, Integral CEO Egbert Perry told the AJC the firm planned to decide in June what to do about this lack of funding for infrastructure — that could mean (somehow) proceeding with the initial plan, scaling it back to a more (gasp) suburban-style development, or (double gasp) scrapping it altogether.

The initial plan for the 160-plus acres — all adjacent to MARTA and Interstae 285 — called for a mixed-use "city within a city," complete with movie studio complex (already set to open this year), towers, thriving retail plazas, and parks.

A year ago, our Visual Journeys series chronicled the apocalyptic destruction that was making way for progress. The sky seemed the limit back then.

But now, officials say in order for any large-scale development to happen, they need that tax money for infrastructure.

The proposed TAD is a funding mechanism that uses increases in tax collections from rising property values to pay back bond refinancing for public infrastructure upgrades.

Some DeKalb County School officials have spoken out against or expressed hesitance at the TAD measure, saying in essence that they're not in the development business.

Meanwhile, Doraville Mayor Donna Pittman told the AJC she's hopeful the project can still move forward with a "Plan B" funding scenario.

Whether that means Atlanta residents will have to settle for less than this utopian-looking mini-city in favor of something else is yet to be seen.