Even after the Development Authority of Fulton County shot down a developer’s bid for millions of dollars in tax incentives, a major office project in Buckhead Village appears to be moving forward unencumbered.
Last month, local developer Loudermilk Companies filed for City of Atlanta permits to kick off land disturbance work at 359 East Paces Ferry Road, where a 12-story office and retail tower is planned, according to Bisnow Atlanta.
That came on the heels of the DAFC denying Loudermilk’s request for $2 million in tax incentives that would have helped transform the current parking lot into some 200,000 square feet of mixed-use space and, ultimately, deferred more property taxes over a decade.
The project’s progress could lend more evidence that major private developments in high-profile areas are liable to get built with or without public help.
Urbanist blog ThreadATL noted on Facebook that Loudermilk’s decision to move forward offers “further proof that the tax breaks we’ve been handing out to developers, which hurt schools and other services, need to be questioned more and more.”
The development firm continues to seek construction financing, but CEO Robin Loudermilk told Bisnow the Buckhead Village project could still break ground as soon as February or March.
The scenario is reminiscent of recent news that developer New City Properties is moving forward with a colossal mixed-use development next to Historic Fourth Ward Park, despite the fact that requested tax breaks from Invest Atlanta are still up in the air.
In light of controversy over whether public help was needed to see the 760 Ralph McGill Boulevard project through, New City officials opted to temporarily sideline their request for some $22.5 million in tax breaks from Invest Atlanta.
New City CEO Jim Irwin, arguing the tax breaks would be passed on to the development’s tenants as economic inducements, said the matter would be presented to Invest Atlanta again this year.
Additionally, inclusionary zoning laws have been enacted in the City of Atlanta that aim to prevent private residential developments from securing public support unless they provide some affordable housing component.
However, those rules weren’t implemented soon enough to prevent another Buckhead project, at 99 West Paces Ferry Road, from claiming $3.4 million in tax incentives to support the construction of luxury dwellings, according to Saporta Report.
That project promises so-called “workforce housing” units priced at between 130 and 150 percent of the area median income, the publication reported.
Back at 359 East Paces Ferry Road, the Loudermilk development, sans public help, is primed to deliver up to 100,000 square feet of boutique-style office space, plus some retail offerings, next to The Shops Buckhead Atlanta.