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After backlash, mixed-use developer pauses request for tax breaks along Beltline

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Private developer New City wants public help building in a tax allocation district, as other projects have received

A rendering shows a mix of unique new buildings towering over Historic Fourth Ward Park.
If realized, the project would make a statement at the edge of Historic Fourth Ward Park.
Renderings: New City Properties

When word spread that developer New City Properties was vying for $22.5 million in tax breaks for a mixed-use project on the most popular part of the Atlanta Beltline, critics were up in arms.

For one, it could be argued that a private developer wouldn’t need public help to build out a site on the ever-bustling Eastside Trail in fast-evolving Old Fourth Ward. (Although New City’s recently finished 725 Ponce project’s phase one, and the unrelated warehouse conversion with New Realm Brewing Company across the trail, have qualified for such funding before.)

Additionally, the Beltline project was designed with its own tax allocation district, which is structured to use future tax revenue along and around the trail to, essentially, pay for itself.

On Thursday, Invest Atlanta officials were expected to vote on the tax break request.

But on Wednesday, New City had asked that its proposal be withdrawn from the agenda, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Another rendering shows what appear to be glassy office buildings.
How one facet of the project could greet Eastside Trail patrons.

New City’s 12-acre project, sited at a former Georgia Power yard neighboring Historic Fourth Ward Park, about two blocks south of Ponce City Market, ultimately promises 1,100 residences, more than a million square feet of office space, 200,000 square feet of retail offerings, and a 75-key hotel.

Before Wednesday, the developer was hoping to score tax breaks for the first phase, which would entail 350 apartments and 475,000 square feet of office space. New City’s website indicates the project was expected to break ground in early 2020.

New City CEO Jim Irwin told the paper the company wanted to pump the breaks to allow for more time to provide Invest Atlanta with further details about the colossal proposal.

It’s unclear, though, whether another request for public help will surface down the line.

Recent controversy over public tax handouts hasn’t been relegated to the Beltline or any particular neighborhood.

There’s the protracted and ongoing argument that developer CIM Group shouldn’t receive well over $1 billion to redevelop downtown’s Gulch; and developer Portman Holdings, as one other example, caught flak last year for seeking more than $100 million in Invest Atlanta incentives for a Midtown office tower project.