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68 Comments

  1. 1

    Toff

    Granted. Please move ahead.

  2. 2

    Jumper in the Door

    I thought this was a done deal. Doesn’t a DeKalb Superior Court judge approve of the bonds?

  3. 3

    Eddie E.

    Doraville, If you are truly being ‘asked’ use your head and VOTE NO!
    Let the imaginary Free Market do it’s job.

  4. 4

    enuff govt already

    The legislature transferred the commmercial areas to Doraville which increased the city’s ability to write bonds. This company announced it will build on the GM site and bonds written by Doraville will be an integral part of the development. Doraville was laying off police a couple of years ago because of their financial mismanagement and the effects of the recession. The county was right to steer clear of this project several years ago after opposition from civic and govt leaders. I expect to see the same civic and govt leaders speak against this project. Nobody wants to live in a condo overlooking spaghetti junction so I don’t think the anticipated property value increase will increase proportional to the bods. A much more detailed feasibility study should be published before the city floats bonds. The media should give this deal some thorough scrutiny.

  5. 5

    Tom Doolittle

    Correction–DeKalb has a higher tax base by Eighty-fold, not eight-fold.

    BTW–I would be very surprised if DeKalb didn’t participate financially–it just isn’t going to talk about it. Just as I expect them to in Brookhaven or at least in what will be become Brookhaven at I-85 and N. Druid Hills Rd. They will talk about that one.

  6. 6

    effing

    Doraville-it ain’t much but its home.

    Friends of mine
    Say I oughta move to New York
    New York’s fine
    But it ain’t Doraville

    Atlanta Rhythm Section

  7. 7

    Dave

    I’m not going to be at all happy if DeKalb buys into the latest example of private profit, taxpayer risk.

  8. 8

    extreme jealousy!

    This project is a pipe dream.
    Without a big player involved such as the Braves, the Falcons or corporate involvement such as the State Farm or Mercedes headquarters, all you have are developers searching for a way w/out the financial commitment to make it happen.
    A possibility would be getting the film industry involved, or a big tech company like Google(not likely now-they’d want to be in cities where their wares are), or even Tyler Perry, but he’s pretty much committed to Kasim Reed & the city of Atlanta.
    There are already many enticing areas in & around the Atlanta area in growth mode that have the funding in place.
    Here’s my suggestion- woo an auto manufacturer (like an electric car company) & build a clean sustainable community around that!

  9. 10

    Tom Doolittle

    I try to limit my comments to my own articles/perspectives but this the GM plant redevelopment is a complicated mix of issues–and they can be balanced between them depending on your world view–extreme or practical on “both” sides…is opinion reflecting an unyielding philosophy?

    Opinions of the GM project are affected by the angle you take on:
    (1) TAD’s value (is opinion of ALL TADs same as in GM situation)
    (2) TAD laws (have “loosening” the definition of “blight” ruined the purpose of TADs)
    (3) Affordability vs risk–the essence of the “incentives good/incentives bad” issue
    (4) Rules–is the process regulated enough? Does it protect the public long term? Is financed infrastructure truly “public” or is access to borrowed funds a blank check for private use?
    (5) Project’s strategic value–is it too big to allow it to fail? Does it benefit city taxpayers as much as the region?
    (6) Should the “region”/state lead the process and pay commensurately with regional value?
    (7) Ethics:Payoff–are each of the “lobbies” (econ dev officials, developers/property owners, public) having equal access to the decision process?

    My belief is it should be absolutely OBVIOUS the GM site should not and cannot remain fallow. However, a small and poor city should not be hanging out to dry on a project that’s as valuable or more valuable to surrounding jurisdictions. (Hell–who’s going to pay for anybody who gets sick if the state’s environmental process fails–an extreme example)
    In fact–at this point we don’t know that arrangements aren’t being made for the state and county–or even prospective user institutions to participate–BECAUSE we don’t know CRAP–Because there’s even less transparency this time as there was with New Broad Street.

    To the question of product. I dabble in community design. This is the most imaginative (downright beautiful) design for using the GM site to be an EXPANSION of Doraville’s “center”. Think how hard it is to even create a center in a city that is a CORRIDOR. As explained (and it really requires the detailed explanation the planner provided this week)–as explained–the MARTA station literally becomes the center of Doraville–nearly as much width-wise as longitudinally.

    (1) Its’ a beautiful project (as in, not a freaking stadium or Atlantic Station)
    (2) depending on who markets it (state econ dev “mega” site, surrounding cities, MARTA) or what key tenants start the process (Emory, Federal Govt, Philanthropies, GM??)–that will determine its revenue success and ultimate infrastructure–and TAD payoff)
    (3) My instincts say this is a power play and the current developers are going to resell a site that is made more valuable free of charge to a connected player–is that so wrong if the project hinges on a connection to the regional power structure? Results are as promised in a reasonable amount of time? Ends justify means?
    (4) Put the city of Doraville in the background–get professional regulators and econ dev officials on this NOW. Doraville CANNOT handle the risk associated with the project. They cannot review zoning, they cannot do anything but put cops on the street. PROTECT this poor little city!!!
    (5) Mass media should start doing its freaking job–and not waiting until its safe and convenient. Its lack of attention to these issues, even not fully describing all of its regional value–is a travesty–its unconscionable. BTW–if we had media competition this would not be happening.

    Thanks for your continued attention.

  10. 11

    WAH

    Here’s the problem I have when this site mixes editorial with reporting. There is no accountability on reporting facts ….’observations’ are clearly wrapped in agenda.

    Tom- Completely appreciate you attending and providing feedback on the meeting, but, respectfully, I think you should separate reporting from editorial.

    For example, you talk about tax base of Doraville vs. DeKalb. TAD bonds are not backed by general tax revenues, the Doravile tax digest, or even by the city of Doraville. That’s a fact that isn’t clear in your reporting. Are we to assume you didn’t clarify that out of negligence or that you left it out to help your editorial message?

    Also, the bonds that were voted down by DeKalb were 36 million in general obligation bonds to help purchase the property. They were not TAD financing. They also were negotiated in secret by the currently indicted CEO. They would have resulted in a tax increase to DeKalb tax payers and would have been backed by the taxpayer. And that is why they were defeated. It is literally comparing apples to oranges…are we to believe as a reporter that you don’t factually understand the difference between a TAD issued bond and a general obligation bond? That clarifying that difference might be germane to the reporting on this matter?

    Those are details that matter to the story. Lumping in TAD bonds, general bonds, and maybe even James Bond would make sense if you are trying to convince people of your position rather than reporting.

    TAD financing has been effectively used for this type of project…redevelopment of blighted property…for over 40 years. There is not one example of taxpayers having to repay those bonds. They are completely different than general obligation bonds and because of their structure, are incredibly powerful tools for places like Atlanta and Atlantic Station and small jurisdictions like Doraville or Avondale Estates or East Point (Camp Creek) that wouldn’t have the ability to issue general obligation bonds.

    http://m.ajc.com/news/news/local/plan-for-doraville-gm-plant-redevelopment-falls-th/nQgd8/

    My two cents for your consideration…admittedly maybe only worth less…:)

  11. 12

    The Brookhaven Post

    WAH – The first sentence in the article says, “Contributor, Tom Doolittle attended a Town Hall meeting in Doraville and offers a report and a perspective.”

    It is clearly stated from the get go.

    We would welcome any contribution you or any others may have relating to topics happening in or around our region.

  12. 13

    Tom Doolittle

    WAH–breaking my own rules about commenting on my own “articles”/”perspectives” again. You didn’t ask for an explanation, but maybe it will be interesting to others (and potential contributing writers) and you’ll be a bonus.
    (1) I appreciate your commitment to journalistic detail and I agree with your main point.
    (2) To the extent that your concerns are directed at the website in general, I won’t comment.
    (3) Since I haven’t heard from you before, can I assume much of my stuff didn’t warrant response on this level–or the issues surrounding TADs and incentives are of particular “interest” to you?
    (4) Your use of the term “agenda” can be interpreted in many ways. I’m not benefiting personally either in influence or financially–and I’m not working for anyone that is. My agenda is to be READ and write about aspects of issues that are otherwise not. I have background in environmental policy and have nonprofit experience in planning and economic development (and I coach tennis):)

    For my contributions–
    What I have said to the editor is that writers should either write news articles/reports or they should write perspective-opinions/stories (I agree with you). N’er the twain should meet. The philosophy actually follows this websites strict and unique adherence to facts.

    However, the editor is trying to encourage more contributions, especially from surrounding areas, so he says we can do both as long as the distinction is clarified by preamble. It was in this case, clear or not. BTW–I have also told him, I’m shifting to opinion pieces because I agonize over research, but they’ll be as “straight” as possible–maybe colored with a bit of sarcasm.

    The one area that you mention that I do want to get “right” is your comment:
    “TAD bonds are not backed by general tax revenues, the Doravile tax digest, or even by the city of Doraville.” Depends on your definition of “backed”. It’s arguable that a TAD bond default is solely that of a private entity–legally–but cities won’t tolerate one if at all possible–and cities will make up revenue shortfalls as long as they can. The Atlanta School system is suing the City of Atlanta over revenue shortfalls at the Beltline specifically for this reason.

    A default will bankrupt a developer, but they live to screw people yet another day. However, a developer’s default will WRECK a city’s reputation–and they, and even a “covering” jurisdiction like the state would likely make them whole to avoid that. The extent they do that fully depends on the political consessions they can extract from the city politicians at the time.

    So yes–criticize a guy’s work for shorthand. I’ll accept that–and even welcome some research from you in return. A guy’s gotta learn from mistakes.
    The comparison of DeKalb’s situation to Doraville’s is important–the contrast not nearly as much. The issue was incentives and risks…as I explain here, both General Obligations and TADs are both and carry both.

  13. 14

    Dave

    “My belief is it should be absolutely OBVIOUS the GM site should not and cannot remain fallow.”

    The rest of your piece makes sense if you are right about the necessity to do something with the site. To my mind that is the flaw, the perceived need to “do something” so as to justify government money. I’m perfectly content with vacant land until private money thinks development makes enough sense to invest the money to build.

    “Eric Pinkney, Vice President of Real Estate for Integral Group… said….’The greatest risk we have is time’ Pinkney responded during Q&A, adding ‘the market is peaking now’, we want a piece of it. He asked for zoning approval and infrastructure financing via the TAD as soon as possible.”

    Of course Integral wants a piece and of course it wants taxpayers to take the risk. When Integral thinks the “piece” is valuable enough to risk its, not our, money, the time is right to develop.

  14. 15

    WAH

    I understand and read that…and it is certainly your prerogative to display articles however you desire.

    My point is that many people rely on your site for news (and that is certainly credit to the work you and others have put into having good and accurate information). However, most news sites clearly and definitively separate their news stories from editorials out of journalistic integrity. It’s the same reason they don’t blend advertising and editorial.

    As always, appreciate the work you do and don’t want to tell you how to run your site…but hopefully you can appreciate my attempt to offer constructive criticism.

  15. 16

    The Brookhaven Post

    And your opinion is appreciated and noted.

  16. 17

    RAJ

    Great stuff Tom!…..I have a lawsuit filed against Doraville on the last deal and may file on this one!

  17. 18

    WAH

    Thanks, Tom. Certainly respect you and your willingness to engage. I hope that isn’t lost in debate or disagreement. I also appreciate that the distinction was made in the heading and your and the BP’s explanation. I don’t think there is a nefarious or dishonest attempt to hide editorial in the report. I do remain critical of that practice FWIW.

    By agenda… I have read your past articles and comments, here and on the Patch regarding incorporation and local gov’t in Brookhaven, Northlake, etc. My read is that you have a skepticism of the current incorporation and annexation movement, the current leadership at the state level, along with the viability and efficiency of municipalities in our area. Agenda may have been too inflammatory and too personal…many apologies…perhaps it’s better stated that my opinion is that the article and your observation reflect the world view that I have assigned to you (rightly or wrongly) and you certainly wouldn’t mind if others agreed with you? 🙂

    As far as ‘interest’…I just have an interest in my community. I have no involvement in government, public financing, or anything like that, if that was the implication. I think the discussion about TAD funding that happened last fall in our area was disgusting. The city provided no good info to citizens. The opponents did a great job of balancing facts and spin and all the while letting 3rd parties not “officially” affiliated with them to spread falsehoods. The ends justifying the means approach in my opinion. Politics took precedent over community conversations. Winning the argument was more important that having an honest conversation about pros/cons; facts/opinions.

    Having said that…your argument is that while under the law the bonds aren’t backed by the city, there could be a ‘wink wink’ understanding that the city would step into the breach if default came near. Respectfully..that’s chasing ghosts. It hasn’t happened.

    However, I have actual evidence that the divide between redevelopment bond and taxpayer isn’t just elementary…the hypothetical scenario you describe…default leading to a scared city council using taxpayer funds to prevent a reputation hit is repudiated by actual events in Alpharetta. http://northfulton.com/stories/Wells-Fargo-sues-Fulton-Science-Academy-after-19M-default,22508 The development authority issued bonds for the charter school. The bonds went default because the school never got it’s charter. Neither the city, nor the development authority felt the need to shield investors. Both the city and the development authority still had the highest bond rating after the default.

    So on the one hand you have hypothetical about what ‘might’ happen and on the other you have the law and real-life examples of how it has protected the taxpayer in Georgia. Not to mention successes like the Beltline, Centennial Park, Atlantic Station, Camp Creek in East Point where redevelopment of blighted, industrial has been instrumental. The cynic can say ‘for lining developers pockets’ sure…but I’d counter that each of those has unquestionably been instrumental in helping to create a better community.

    Thanks for listening and for sharing your reports and opinion. I think it comes from a real desire to serve the community…I can only appreciate that. I’m ‘hanging up’ for the weekend!

  18. 19

    The Brookhaven Post

    Thanks WAH. It is great to have good conversational debate. Have nice weeknd and thank you for reading The Post.

  19. 20

    extreme jealousy!

    Great response WAH. Very informative & enlightening.
    I would suggest that you might consider writing a series of editorials for the Post to help the taxpaying public understand this complicated issue.
    My thoughts below pertain more to Brookhaven than the GM plant. I think there’s a lot more that will be needed for that project than just a TAD, so I’m in the wait & see on that one.
    TAD districts really aren’t that complicated, but there was a much louder effort to scare and confuse Brookhaven citizens before the election. I believe the city held back in the education process due to possibly fear of ethics violation because of the upcoming referendum. I think I read they couldn’t speak publicly about the redevelopment powers act and they had to remain neutral. I’m a little confused on that, because it seems like that was the key missing component- a good educational process put out by the city. Do you have any info on that aspect, WAH?.
    Redevelopment powers are a much needed tool to help the city & citizens have a say in what the future of their city will become. The benefactors of TAD districts are the whole surrounding community. And you are correct, this funding tool to help jumpstart good development w/ necessary public infrastructure is being utilized throughout Georgia & the US (under the name TIF, also).
    Again, you think you could put together some informative editorial’s for the Post?
    I think they would be very appreciated. Thanks!

  20. 21

    The Brookhaven Post

    Actually the city did bring in people, most notably Sharon Gay, on several occasions. We video taped them. If you go to The Post and click on the YouTube icon it will take you to our channel. Look around you’ll find them. I believe there were three occasions where it was discussed extensively. Im not so sure education was the main issue on why the referendum was defeated so handily. Or maybe it was. IMO.

  21. 22

    extreme jealousy!

    Thanks Post. I do remember someone giving a presentation and spoke about some of the ongoing TAD’s. You’re right they did do that.
    But seems making the connection on exactly what it would look like in B’haven that might have been missing. I think showing a project completed along BuHi w/ and w/out TAD and what the added infrastructure would look like would put it in better perspective.
    I still think WAH could help inform very effectively, cos’ it does sound as if it’s coming back up in Nov.

  22. 23

    extreme jealousy!

    Speaking of development, Post, is there anything moving forward on BuHi anywhere?
    Bryton Hill ? Briarwood?
    Thanks in advance.

  23. 24

    RAJ

    Great, but the property was bought on a 1 year note at 12% for some 55M. Now tell me if the taxpayers want to guarantee the bonds on a bond issue on that TAD!!

  24. 25

    Tom Doolittle

    WAH–thanks for reading what I write–and you pegged my world view fairly well.

  25. 26

    Brookhaven4u

    True, Redevelopment Authority and TADs the Bonds are not backed by tax payers by the letter of the law. Georgia law does allow (Not required) for General Funds to be used to pay for TAD Bonds. All municipalities borrow money. So the reality is if the TAD ever becomes financially unviable, most municipalities have to dip in General fund because they can’t afford the credit hit from the failed TAD. There is also the damaged reputation/loss of credibility for the municipality to consider when determining to dip into the general fund to pay for a failed TAD.

    Look at the city of Canton. Has a tremendous problem providing services do to using the General Fund to pay for TAD Debt. Guess what highest paid city manager advised Canton on their TAD?

    The Atlanta Beltline owes Atlanta Public Schools $8 million. Appears that they are not making the revenue they projected. If they have to dip into the general fund to pay this would that be considered a failed TAD?

    Hypothetically assume we do redevelop Bufford highway. Assume the increased Tax Revenue is able to pay off the Bond Debt. Does this justify success? But redevelopment may require increased expenses for the city to serve this area. Where does this come from? Stretch the General Fund, cut services, or raise taxes. That is what I would call an indirect TAD Failure. Why do you think the state of California who invented TADs has put the end to them in 2012?

    Congratulations to COBB County Citizens. You will have the Braves. You probably would not have them without the TAD. Of but Fulton County still has 12 years of bond payments on Braves former stadium. We can only hope the Cobb Taxpayers get a better deal. Sometimes these improvements from TADs don’t outlive the bond payments.

    The Redevelopment Authority/TAD carry large risk and not the greatest reward. When an area is truly blighted (Like Atlantic Station) and does not contribute to the tax base, there is a place for TADs. We don’t have that in Brookhaven. Since Bufford Highway does contribute to the tax base, there is an increased risk that the incremental tax increase from redevelopment would not be able to cover the TAD bond debt.

    Now if people are so gung ho about lining developer’s pockets with Tax Payer money, why not use General Obligation Bonds? The city has the authority. It just requires citizen voter approval on the project. With General Obligation bonds, the citizens have a say in the redevelopment. With TADs we lose this ability not just with current elected officials, but with future officials we have not even elected yet.

    Why do our elected officials not have a public conversation about using General Obligation Bonds?

  26. 27

    Rocket Scientist

    ok. Just want to get this out there and fully underscored.

    THERE AINT ONE PERSON ON CITY COUNCIL THAT UNDERSTANDS A DANG THING YOU ALL ARE TALKING ABOUT!!!

    Sorry to say, and only one or two citizens do.

    And that’s what’s so scary about all of this.

    It’s complicated, when explained people don’t want to listen and learn because they have OTHER THINGS TO DO so the talking heads who run our city just do what they are told or what they think will get people to like them.

    It really is that simple.

    Like our City Manager advised council in Canton to do and why they are so effed up. Oh the incentive was to have the YMCA named after the Mayor and then the rubber stamps just started flying.

    You people had better get educated on this. It is a fact that the people on City Council do not read or understand half of what they pass. They do it because they are told to, it sounds good to them or they need a yes vote from someone else on council for their pet project and they go along with them.

    And just think, we did this to ourselves. I’m not so proud of myself.

    If only I knew.

  27. 28

    extreme jealousy!

    Really ??….and this is exactly why Buford Highway will probably remain a run down blight, due to people such as this peddling their foolish anti good growth agenda. Does no one in Dekalb want to contribute to their own infrastructure & quality of life?
    The quality of life for Atlanta and the people living along the Beltline has gone from very low, to the ultimate in city living. As more homeowners and companies invest, the result will be added revenue for the city and the school system. The revenue from the Ponce City Market alone will add millions to Atlanta’s coffers.
    The 4th Ward Park is such a gem!! Breathtaking, actually!! Where addicts used to go buy crack, now you see kids of all sizes using the skateboard park, couples w/ their strollers and every kind of person and dog enjoying the results of city leaders that had a vision and took a risk. I know people that live on the Beltline. They are thrilled w/ it’s success and are more than willing to pay a little more in tax to enjoy this way of life!!
    There are new restaurants popping up, a new skate park breaking ground and revitalized neighborhoods in full swing as we speak. The parklike living the Beltline has brought to so many throughout Atlanta puts Atlanta closer in line w/ Colorado & Oregon lifestyles, which is very attractive to millennials & companies locating to Atlanta and you never even have to put your foot on the gas!
    There is NOTHING supporting any type of infrastructure in Dekalb & it shows.
    Gwinnett & Cobb & many of their cities enjoy the benefits and results of SPLOST’s & redevelopment authorities that oversee their TAD districts.
    There are some that suggest no incentives are necessary to bring development, eventually, to Buford Highway. That might be true but there will be price to pay. What you will see is a new apartment community here or a new bank or fast food there,…however without the city (and citizens) designing the future and being involved, and no funding for infrastructure, what you WON’T get is any sense of place or community, no connectivity via pedestrian paths, no public gathering plazas, nor parking decks, no parks, zero public art or anything outside of the development gates that says this is the Brookhaven lifestyle.
    Keep redevelopment powers & TAD’s out of Brookhaven, and it’s no ones loss but the citizens of Brookhaven.

  28. 29

    Eddie E

    Glad to see the ‘free market’ is hard at work………
    Figuring out how to scam other people’s money to build in the interest of ‘time’ something that is not fully vetted……
    Meanwhile, real and necessary needs of municipalities and the State are ignored because ‘we can’t raise taxes’.
    If we act like fools, I guess we obtain what we deserve.

  29. 30

    missing and illogical

    Extreme–you completely missed Brook4U’s point–on purpose?

    The point isn’t that TADs don’t incent Oz-like wonders–the point is there are more responsible debt alternatives. Perhaps what you really don’t like about DeKalb’s taxpayers is they are smarter than Cobb’s and want to get closer to a pay-as-you-go scenario: as close as you can get with debt anyway. What you are saying is we are missing the speculative bonanza that has accelerated beyond recognition.

    You seem to be complaining that DeKalb taxpayers are hysterical (presumably because they voted “no” in Brookhaven). However, its your comment that reflects hysteria because you have to look out your balcony at Buford highway’s eclectic cash-based working class (by the way has been for 100 years–except for Army personnel). Then every time there’s an article about financial incentives to bring more affluence and “cleanliness” to a 20th century petroleum induced corridor (whch by the way is the factor keeps BuHi ugly–and won’t ever go away)…you relate it to whatever is being proposed and discussed here.

    There you are, hysterical, red in the face, typing madly without thinking about the contradiction in terms you have used. Cobb is a county government with a huge tax base and you are comparing their decision factors with Doraville (8,500 people). With this difference, there is STILL a lawsuit in Cobb over less than $100 million in TADs–even if it was $100 million, the equivalent amount in Doraville would be less than $5 million by simple math anyway.

    Also–there’s the awesome issue of: have well-capitalized developemnt companies (ie: not on a $50 million 1-yr loan at 12%) avoiding on the most valuable location in the Atlanta region because they NEED handouts or is it because anyone in every other place in Georgia getting them and we’re in an incentive arms race? Maybe what DeKalb taxpayers are saying is we’ll step and stop the madness to save the whole state from another kind of hysteria.

    So make an argument, but don’t base it on criticism of DeKalb taxpayers lack of logic, stuck-in-the-past hysteria. It is YOU, irresponsible governments and developers that are those things:

    (1) GO vs TADs
    (2) Cobb vs Doaraville (or even Brookhaven)
    (3) County vs small city (or new city)
    (4) Big budget vs small budget (with outsized TAD amount)

    Take a chill pill or go back to school–your cluttering the blog

  30. 31

    questioning not arguing

    WAH please comment on Brookhaven 4 U s reference to California ending TADs (wow) and the constant references we see here about Atanta School’s investment in Beltline TAD–both seem to say no TAD. You would instead choose to bring up a charter school in Alpharetta to say cities “don’t suffer”, there is no risk. Which of these are better analogies?

  31. 32

    effing

    To RAJ, please stick around. Whaaaaaaat?????? $50 million borrowed from someone at for 1 yr at 12%???? What kind of developer borrows from a loanshark?

  32. 33

    Brookhaven4u

    I will try to be a little more clearer:

    in regards to California:
    http://lao.ca.gov/analysis/2012/general_govt/unwinding-redevelopment-021712.aspx

    In regards to the Atlanta Beltline, I would call this a failure:

    http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/morning_call/2015/01/report-beltline-now-owes-atlanta-public-schools.html

    I don’t believe Brookhaven is financially capable to handling a TAD Failure like the Atlanta Beltline. It would have to raise taxes, cut services, or both. Citizens of Doraville have to ask themselves this question of risk they are willing to take.

    It is one thing if you have an area that is not producing any tax revenue, Atlantic Station comes to mind, where a TAD seems to work.
    Trying to compare the Bufford Highway area of Brookhaven to Atlantic Station is absurd. The Bufford Highway corridor of Brookhaven is a tax producing area. Sure Development could increase the tax, but will the incremental increase be enough? The revenue projections are where TADs like Atlanta Beltline get themselves into trouble. Proecting out 20 to 30 years is always at best a guess.

    To say citizens lose the ability to say what/how development occurs without Redevelopment Powers is flat out wrong. Passing Redevelopment powers completely removes Citizens from having a say.The Redevelopment Authority has no accountability to the citizens.

    General Obligation Bonds require a passage of public referendum vote.Citizens would have vast says so in any redevelopment. Not saying General Obligation bonds carry no risk, they do, but the Citizens have the say so with General Obligation Bonds.

  33. 34

    extreme jealousy!

    Oh my goodness,…who’s hysterical? I think the readers can decide that one!
    I have found, since moving to Chamblee and Dekalb County, there is a small but very vocal crowd that refuses to have any level of debate and demands to be the ONLY voice on any matter at all times.
    Any time anyone offers a different point of view they turn to personal attacks.
    It’s sad, really.

  34. 35

    extreme jealousy!

    I have every bit of confidence the city of Atlanta and APS will work out the funding issues soon and continue fulfilling the Beltline vision.
    http://saportareport.com/atlanta-beltline-and-aps-should-unify-not-divide-our-city-on-behalf-of-its-children/
    The Atlanta Beltline is not a failure and is continuing to proceed forward.
    Comparing California’s tax issues w/ Georgia’s is apples to oranges.
    I have never once compared Buford Highway to Atlantic Station. I have stated in the past that I believe the best guide for Buford Highway would be Smyrna’s Belmont Hills/Windy Hill Road TAD that was renegotiated recently and is in the mixed use building stage. I suggest you take a ride out that way & take a look. Also, Marietta has some TAD’s in the works plus the 68 million dollar bond referendum approved by voters to revitalize Franklin Road is seeing good results.
    I also have never said w/out redevelopment powers citizens LOSE the ability to have a say. As always, developments come before planning & zoning and citizen input is heard. Nothing’s changed on that matter.
    But what I have said is with a TAD district the city participates in the the entirety of the process, so that more of a community vision is mapped out & potentially realized. Your statement that citizens are removed from having a say when cities have development authorities is a flat out lie.
    On the contrary, when TAD developments come through planning and zoning there’s even a higher level of scrutiny and citizen involvement because there is more on the line.
    I know, I lived in Smyrna while TAD developments were in the works.
    Sorry your TAD glass is so empty.

  35. 36

    missing and illogical

    Extreme
    Again you “miss” the point, this time being economics.
    (1) The damn things have to make money, not just look new. The things you cite about the Beltline are all infrastructure (parks, trails). They are gamble, when the investment isn’t coming in–all on the come. Is Belmont/Smyrna all filled up? Is it profitable or does it simply become city-owned, like propoerty was when it was purchased on the come and required refinancing. Refinancing is what is required in bankruptcy. See the plethora of articles about citizen revolt. They await the shoe to drop once again.
    (2)You have “every confidence” that City and Schools will “work things out”–who the hell cares if the two GOVERNMENT agencies kiss and makeup and avoid a trial? The point is WHY are they scratching each others eyes out? Because the damn project isn’t generating any revenue and increasing property values. (THATS WHAT HS TO HAPPEN OR THE SPONSOR HAS TO GO INTO THEIR SURPLUS).

    Thats the point many are trying to make here? Show the plan to make money–show the plan that says THIS developer is going to be around long enough to generate revenue. RAJ says they have a one-year loan at !2% with a loanshark. Show a development plan, not a site prep plan. Do not ask a city jurisdiction to facilitate ownership of infrastructure that may sit fallow for 10 years.

    Extreme–you talk pretty buildings that get built that has no tenants. When you get rid of eclectic small scale old buildings that are making money from people with cash. You talk debt with no tenants.
    (Do NOT compare an empty slum that had to be demolished with Smyrna money and attracted no buyers and tenants with money-making, landlored making profits on Bu Hi.

    You know nothing–you want pretty pretty things with no market but schools, fderal agenccies and research consortiums.

    You should go to work for the morons at Doraville City Hall (or better yet, their 12% borrowing and shoe string budget developers) and you can all go bankrupt togehther.

    You know nothing–go to economics school.

  36. 37

    enuff govt already

    This blogger keeps tabs on Doraville city hall.
    http://doravilleonlinenews.com/

  37. 38

    extreme jealousy!

    You seem to have 2 problems.
    The 1st is that you seem to have a ‘protect the cheap labor along the dilapidated BuHi Corridor’ agenda. Just how you might benefit, I have no idea as that’s something you probably don’t want to share.
    And number 2, -you also don’t have a very good understanding of how TAD’s work. If you did you would understand that when a TAD district is established, finding the right development for specific parcels is a difficult process. The developer has strict funding(tougher now than ever before), and state guideline requirements the developer(& the overseeing jurisdiction) must abide by. There is a rigorous approval process as it comes before the city and the citizens.
    But look, you obviously plan to continue your anti redevelopment rants, so as you continue your writings , could you please just take a deep breath once in a while and not be so rude when addressing people w/ opposing views?
    Thanks.

  38. 39

    Eddie E

    You might want to listen to the individual above.
    They have something to say that you have jumped through hoops to ignore!

  39. 40

    Brookhaven4u

    Extreme the article proves the Atlanta BeltLine is a Financial Failure. All the shiny new buildings, the Incremental Tax Revenue clearly can’t meet its financial obligation.

    Since the FAILED TAD could not pay its financial obligations, while not legally obligated, the reality is that the Shortfall is coming from City of Atlanta General Funds. I.E the tax payers eventually will be paying for this one way or another.

    If the Atlanta Beltline is such a financial success why does the $15 million payment, which is clearly owed to APS, conditioned on a renegotiated deal require APS to take less money in the future?

    “it is apparent that the economics that existed when the initial contract was struck no longer exist or at a minimum, will not exist for some time.”
    You’re kidding me? The Atlanta Beltline economic failure is due to an economic downturn? There will be economic downturns over 30 years, Brookhaven and Doraville will not be immune to them.
    .

    What makes you thing Brookhaven could cover a $15 Million Short Fall from a failed TAD like the Atlanta Beltline?
    What makes you think Doraville could?

    What the financial failure from the Atlanta Beltline TAD is that the Developers and Bondholders will get their money, it is up to the tax payer to cover the shortages from the failed TAD.

    And before you go here:
    “As such, I will also propose that the payment of this amount be preconditioned on the execution of a refashioned agreement between the parties within 60 days coupled with a commitment by Atlanta BeltLine Inc. to repay the city reserves over a reasonable period of time.”
    If the Atlanta Beltline can’t pay for its current obligations, what makes you think it is going to be able to pay them in the future plus the addition revenue needed for the repayment to the City Reserves?

  40. 41

    extreme jealousy!

    Doom & gloom, that’s all you are!
    I prefer to see Brookhaven(& Chamblee) grow, prosper & become a success.

  41. 42

    Brookhaven4u

    just as I thought. You have no factual basis to back your positions nor can you counter the facts provided by the opposing view points

  42. 43

    extreme jealousy!

    B4u, you continue to trash the Belmont Hills mixed use in Smyrna, not sure your reason for you calling it a failure.
    So far, the beautiful elementary school is opened, the single family residences are building & pre selling fast, the luxury apartments will be complete soon. The retail/commercial is in it’s leasing stage and esp. now w/ google fiber, I predict they will land some tech start ups.
    This was previously an older, outdated shopping center that was leased out to low end type stores & businesses.
    The TAD is what allowed Halpern the demolition, sewers & street grid.
    Success, it’s a beautiful thing!
    http://halpern-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Belmont-Marketing-Package.pdf

  43. 44

    RAJ

    This is SUCH BS. I have a lawsuit filed against Doraville on the LAST GM deal over EIGHT alleged illegal executive sessions and you ought to read some of the bond dealing on that one, not to mention word of a former DeKalb County Commissioner asking for $3M at closing. A year ago a Doraville City Council member was so happy about this proposed TAD on the current GM deal that she said that “she could dance on the tables”. I should have a transcript to share soon. Look…at 74 years old and after 42 years of store development with companies like K-mart,Lowes and Home Depot I’m just as wide eyed and enthusiastic as the day as I was born,but I think a little caution may be in order in Brookhaven and Doraville!

  44. 45

    missing and illogical

    Belmont Hills will go the route of the Stonecrest area–the whole area is (was) subsidized–shopping and apartments by DeKalb and single-family by an inflated mortgage sector. The area had no incomes and the economy fell. No underlying economic support to warrant government intervention.

    Belmont is a hare in a tortoise economy with tortoise incomes–burnout is right around the corner. The only thing that might save it is proximity to Vinings (or at least what they fancy themselves as Vinings).

  45. 46

    effing

    Once again, the only projects that warrant TADs are on properties that are relatively worthless without them, unless the TAD bond figure is considered verrrrrry conservatively.

    The property in no way should be considered undervalued at $50 million, if it is being taxed at market value. On a TAD, you need to start near zero tax level to make the risk worthwhile–or put another way–to avoid being considered jsut a wing and a prayer.

    Someone above here said the developer is on a shoe-string and will flip the property+TAD+cleanup farce deal in a year. That would be the impetus behind the TAD push.

  46. 47

    RAJ

    That’s why they had to get the zoning for import wholesale and TAD financing approved ASAP,with “Private” meetings in homes between key residents and developer with Council Member or Doraville City official present to make sure things go as planned. As Tom pointed out mainstream media will not cover this until it’s all over………Braves Stadium Deal. Same bond attorney….Mc something I think…don’t have my notes handy….. thinking about 2010 Chateau Rauzan-Despagne with Ossobuco before the game!

  47. 48

    RAJ

    Discussion is will tax value for TAD be pre tear down or post tear down and pre or post clean up….makes a difference I think. Anyone can answer this one gets a hubcap off a Corvair.

  48. 49

    Tom Doolittle

    To RAJ:
    Property valuations are the “hanky panky” part of TADs in general. Commercial property is worth whatever the city/county says it is–and is more impacted by who you are than what you own or where you own it.

    Was GM was getting a break on valuation or “taxable valuation”? I believe so. My guess is the property was taxed at relatively close value as 167 acres of fallow land with an old mill on it would be off of Memorial Drive or some slum. One area’s “blighted land” shouldn’t valued at another’s if the area is of higher intrinsic value–but that’s a voodoo calculation.

    It would actually behoove Doraville to lobby for the lowest valuation prior to initiating the TAD. That way, whatever “increment” in valuations occurs later, “look good” (another way of saying the more the tax receipts are that get squestered for bond payback). The city is already accustomed to low tax payments, so it won’t care if later higher receipts are used by the developer for bond repayment.

    I would look out for “hanky panky” where the sale price of $50 million isn’t used as the “basis” for the intitial tax valuation of the TAD.

    What is the tax value right now–pre teardown? What would it be in what you term as “post teardown”? (1) Low and (2) same, no change–each will be used as the “basis” point.

    This is just a game to these people, folks. It’s all on you.

  49. 50

    extreme jealousy!

    I imagine I’ll be dead and gone before GM is redeveloped.

  50. 51

    Tom Doolittle

    Extreme: I feel your resignation–this is exhausting

    About the “development” (partial or full) of the site–the developer (really a “pre-developer”) already prepared us for a long project, whether provided a public infrastructure incentive or not. They recognized this will be a 30-year project at the meeting last week.

    What’s the real questions here are– what will be built (scope) with a TAD (and when) and how long would it be for income producing tenants to show up
    vs
    what could be built (and when) with city/county/state bonds that pay for municipal infrastructure DIRECTLY as a separate consideration from the schedule for private sector interests buidling their own projects?

    In any case, if you are most concerned with something happening that affects you, you probably need to be under the age of 40 to see any value.

  51. 52

    Tom Doolittle

    I’ll be writing a piece–

    “Who can remember ‘impact fees’?”

    As quaint as a leather football helmet, the term “impact fees” aren’t even part of the land development Zeitgeist now. Cursive writing has more relevance to society than debating whether a company that puts thousands of cars on the roads or as many kids in the schools has responsibility for helping pay the expense ameliorating their financial impact…

    Now, not only can you expect a developer to “run, not walk” from any jurisdiction with an impact fee policy–they’ll go across the county line (three miles away) if you don’t offer a Tax Allocation District or some combination of “tax aversion” policy. Called “inducements”, ….

    Of course, impact fees were in the Atlanta Regional Commission’s mind when it adopted the now toothless Development of Regional Impact regulations. If all jurisdictions were required to charge impact fees, then developers couldn’t run from them and remain in the 13-county Metro area….

    (consider that a teaser)

  52. 53

    RAJ

    Tom…you owe ME two late model chevy volt hubcaps for that answer!!

  53. 54

    RAJ

    So why does Wal-mart have $1/4 M in the bank on the Suburban Plaza project with nowhere to spend it because DeKalb County has no legal way to accept the money. Company policy is what I had to deal with for 42 years! Just don’t spend it in Mexico!

  54. 55

    Eddie E

    It is difficult to do business in a Country that has abandoned collection of adequate revenue (TAXES) isn’t it?

  55. 56

    RAJ

    Tom….But low tax value for the GM property shrinks the tax digest of the City of Doraville,a small city that is sure to have collateral costs in it’s budget on this project. Another factor, what if LaVista Hills forms as a City and annexes that commercial and residential area along I-85 further reducing Doraville’s tax digest. A shrinking bonding authority in a redeveloping city with increasing financing needs is not helpful. Hope they don’t expect the County taxpayer to chip in on this one. Don’t bet a GM ignition switch on that one!

  56. 57

    Tom Doolittle

    All true–its a balnce. So maybe they increase the “improved” property value a little–split the difference if yu like.

    One thing I don’t think would be reasonable would be to include the property remediation amount in the 2015 number (or whatever year it gets done)–unless it reduced the sale amount. Altho if they did, I’m sure people (here anyway) would be “comforted” to know the value of the remediation they assign (and the deal on scope the state gave the new “owner”).

    Who is the “owner” BTW?

    On the side that I was discussing Doraville’s baseline won’t change and that’s a devil they already know.

    I assume your comment was tongue-in-cheek anyway–I’m sure you’ve read some of the concerns about financial responsibility and acumen that others have written here.

  57. 58

    Tom Doolittle

    Extreme: Seeing your side (glass half full–with qualifiers below)

    Appartently there IS actual new construction along the Beltline. Lets assume best case:
    (1) it also isn’t being incented and subsidized (distorting the market)
    (2) Lenders are responsible, not heating the market with questionable builder/owners (I hear we’re building another bubble already)
    (3) The lessee/tenants will come and revenue will be sufficient

    Then after all is said and done–given the propoerty values were originally at blighted levels (hopefully)–there would be substantial propoerty value increases–and tax increments to be sequesterd for bond payoff.

    The million $ issue that bothers your detractors above still remains that all TADs are subject to market downturns–which gets them in trouble as it did for the past seven years–and that is causing governments to dip into The People’s budget (which is against RAH’s claim that city’s aren’t on the hook).

    Then the zillion $ issue (my primary concern) is all of the above problems are bring faced by a City of Atlanta (500,000 people and umpteen company tax base).

    To echo Atlanta Rhythm Section–“It ain’t Doravilllllllllle”

    The answer of course is to reduce the amount of the TAD to reflect risk (not the developers necessarily, but the CITY)–and my guess is that would be about 10% of what they are going after.
    (This BTW–is the aspect/solution that no-one here has broached–and it is reasonable)

    Oh yes–and the file with the calculations are made available to the public–remember trust in government may be the most imprtant goal of all.

  58. 59

    RAJ

    Baseline won’t change…. they are tied to County tax assessment, this stuff has to be filed does it not?

  59. 60

    foncused

    It seems clear that you have an agenda . . perhaps even working with one of Doraville’s more “colorful” citizens? You even use the same musical analogy as he does, “The Music Man”, when he blasts our city and city leaders during council meetings.

    Your inaccurate, and generally dismissive opinion of the City of Doraville residents is offensive. Yes, I am a Doraville resident. I am 43 and am part of a growing group of young professionals who are moving to the City because of it’s location, amazing availability of terrific ethnic food, the new historic designation for the Northwoods neighborhood, our amazing tree canopy, and easy access to MARTA, 285, 85, etc.

    Yes, we do have quite a few immigrants. Yes, our per capita income level is not as high as surrounding communities. Yes, our city has not progressed as far as say Chamblee, Dunwoody, or Brookhaven. But your generalities and mis-statements are misleading and yes, will use the word again, offensive.

    Not to mention your article is generally inaccurate as well. An “Epcot-like” development? If you are referring to having catchy names of areas, yes. But the term “Epcot” endears thoughts of a theme-park that is garish and over-the-top. Nothing about the proposed street plan and conceptual design that was presented at that meeting meets either of those terms. You fancy yourself a developer of sorts with environmental ties, where was the story about the green space, over 16 acres of parks if I heard correctly. What about the street grid to slow traffic and encourage people to walk and bike? What about the water gardens, which would be used to catch and use storm water vs dumping it into the storm water system? What about the daylighting and opening of Bubbling Creek and making that a center piece of the development? What about the plan to connect the park system to that of Chamblee and Dunwoody, encouraging a regional walking/biking plan? You mention “the yards” but didn’t talk about them. The Yards is a plan concept called adaptive re-use, which is as it states, the re-use of existing structures, much like what is happening in Midtown West. Not to mention keeping some of the historic aspects of the property.

    So many missed opportunities to talk about some really state-of-the-art development concepts.

    You also clearly have no understanding of the New Broad Street deal and why that was such an issue. DeKalb was planning on using Recovery Zone bonds to pay for the infrastructure and then having Doraville repay DeKalb County. There was no discussion of a TAD in the New Broad Street development on the front end. That is why the deal was scrapped. Those minutes are available for review.

    Not to mention, and someone can correct me if I am wrong, but TAD’s are used only for infrastructure. Cannot be used for private development. So putting up a bond to put in the storm-water, streets, sewer, etc. to attract corporate HQ, research centers, and others seems like a good investment to me. The bonds get re-paid when the value of the property exceeds the baseline of the TAD. The “loss” in revenue is what the government agencies would have received had the TAD not been in place. But one could argue that the TAD and the infrastructure is what drives the re-development and without, the property remains as you said earlier, “fallow”.

    Additionally, it is not just Doraville participating in the TAD, DeKalb County will have skin in the game as will the DeKalb County School System (assuming the choose to participate).

    To be quite candid, your article and subsequent comments seem to biased and influenced by those in our city who are hungry for power and want Doraville to fail.

    Please, in the future, when writing about Doraville, try not to belittle us, do a bit of research and reach out to our residents, ask a few question from a variety of folks, get a balance opinion, and then write your article. Or else, as WAH stated, please call it an Editorial Piece and not a “news article”.

  60. 61

    RAJ

    I don’t know what “young professionals” (probably millennials)in Doraville are smoking these day’s but they may want to check with their supplier! This,as stated, is a” news and views”article. According to County Commissioner Jeff Rader DeKalb County Commission will have to vote to guarantee the Doraville TAD bonds because Doraville does not have sufficient bonding authority. I think a vote by the County is necessary in any case. The $75M will get you about a cup of coffee worth of infrastructure on this project. I suspect the bond money will be converted in some way to actually pay for the property. I checked with Mike Bell DCSS Finance Director and he will not recommend to the School Board they participate in this project,hence I think the TAD is DOA. The plan on the part of the developer is clear….to back everyone into the project(they have done an excellent job on you),force Council into zoning changes and TAD approval and move on up the line.

  61. 62

    Tom Doolittle

    Hi foncused–
    Your comment gives me an usual opportunity to explain what I was thinking (and feeling) as I sat in the meeting and while I was writing. Believe me, its very seldom that someone brings up my use of descriptive language as an issue.

    I rely heavily on inference–my own–and rarely claim to know what someone else has implied–or insinuated. However, what I infer is fair game to criticize (me).
    Note: I quote people from my notes and try to be as accurate as possible.

    Regarding “Epcot” like–you are correct, that had to do with precisely what I described to explain the reference. The design concept is in modules with thematic names, “like The Yards”). They are indeed “thematic”–no designer would argue with that.

    Regarding the imagination and quality of the design concept (the “project” as it stands today):
    You’ll see in the comment section where I was profuse about being endeared to the project–but that wasn’t the point to the article, nor providing a detailed description. Although I did use terms to imply it was “dream-like” (hypnotic) and magnificent (monumental transformation).

    “The Music Man” is my favorite musical and I admire Robert Preston’s character and portrayal. There is a definite correspondence to the juxtaposition of the developers in this project presenting a “dream” (indeed their dream) for the purpose of getting something worthwhile done in a small city and what Robert Preston in fact accomplished in River City. The description in the article was purposely overplayed for readers to get a sense (my sense of course) of the “room”.

    Regarding your reference to motive for writing the perspective piece? RAH brought up the notion of an “agenda” and he said what he meant was my REASON for writing. and I believe I answered that to that person’s satisfaction. (see above)

    Regarding the reference to the DeKalb/Broad Street project, I never said it was backed by a TAD. I never said the financing vehicle had any resemblance to Doraville/Integral at all. My point was that the project blew up BECAUSE of public outrage incited by media coverage–My opinion is based on information that has been made available to very few people as to how the story was leaked and magnified by a compliant monopoly daily media.

    I’ll also admit to a “bias”–
    I admit to being skeptical toward financial incentives that borrow now and pay later on anything less than a PROVEN and RELIABLE revenue stream. The article is about the public financing (TADs are that, we’ve cleared that up above) requested by the developer of the city.

    Please copy and paste the statements (word for word) that you find offensive in a reply here. I’ll try to explain the context for which they were written.
    ( I don’t understand your reference to income levels and immigrants–nothing in there about those things.)

    I appreciate the opportunity to explain the writing process and my particular product.

  62. 63

    your momma

    Buford Highway is already at the best use potential for a 6 lane highway. Trying to make it into something else is nothing less than a huge mistake. I am sorry if you live close to this and don’t like it and will not make the kind of money you want on your investment, but no large roadway has ever been transformed into the mecca you so desire.

    Buford Highway is a regional destination because of the diversity and multi-cultural living and shops. Take away the destination and you will just have a highway in your backyard with no reason to do anything along Buford Highway.

  63. 64

    RAJ

    Thank’s Tom, my hubcap business on Buford Hwy is great and the girls at Shooters Alley just LOVE your stuff. Word around the County and Doraville is that the developer will “sell” the roads and green space to the City of Doraville(or County)after throwing down a little gravel and some drainage pipe……this qualifies the bond money to be used for the 40% of the site for this purpose and the “improvement” return will be more than enough to pay for the original cost of the property. Problem…..this has to be done after the zoning and TAD are approved but before the 1yr note comes due in the fall 2015, and developer cannot move building slabs without EPD permits and environmental review. Some grading will start on the site in a few months and we don’t know what they will find. Really don’t think we need a TAD on this project for quite some time,better for Doraville and the County to wait and see,.,.,.,,they have nothing to lose.

  64. 65

    extreme jealousy!

    Dear focused, Thanks for speaking up as the lone voice from Doraville. I assure you, your opinion and ideas will be drowned out by a very nasty group of bloggers that have absolutely nothing to offer but to shout down any good thoughts, ideas or solutions for this long neglected region, mostly Buford Highway corridor.
    Even their names used are intended to be nasty , as ‘your momma’ & ‘uranus’, without ever offering any level of intelligence.
    Good luck in Doraville. I feel your pain from the similar poor little city of Chamblee.

  65. 66

    MK

    43 is not young.

  66. 67

    Tom Doolittle

    Hang in there Jealous.
    Need your voice for a variety of reasons. You and others might check out the thread and note the comments expanding the premise of the original topic–altho its good to remind ourselves what that is once in a while.
    All is useful except blatant name calling which we really have little of.

Comments are closed.