Doraville, GA, June 24, 2015 – by The Post Reports – The Doraville City Administration presented its first Tax Allocation District (TAD) during a Town Hall meeting on Monday night. Consultant Bleakly Advisory Group presented the results of the TAD’s financial feasibility study for the redevelopment of the Doraville GM Plant Site, a project now called “Assembly”.
The full study approved by the city’s Urban Redevelopment Agency is on the city’s website. It conceives a “TAD #1” that would go beyond what has been discussed thus far in City Council meetings by Integral Group, LLC, the firm that has been working with the city to align its design with previous planning and zoning.
Since the beginning of the year, Integral principals have hinted to the Doraville City Council and City Manager Shawn Gillen has confirmed, that the site cannot be redeveloped as planned without a TAD. Until the Bleakly and Associates plan was first presented to Doraville city officials in May, all presentations about a TAD in open meetings and council sessions have been by Integral Group within the framework of the Assembly project, although some references were made to areas along New Peachtree at the Doraville MARTA station and a Buford Highway “gateway”.
According to the Bleakly plan, TAD #1 now has a boundary that now encompasses 289 acres— the Assembly site (majority TAD acreage owners); the current town center area along Park Street (“Downtown Doraville”); and several blocks along Buford Highway to Shallowford Road. Although Integral first represented the TAD idea, as currently proposed, Assembly would be only 58% of the TAD acreage. Nontaxable city owned property would also be a small share.
TAD financing is expected to provide nearly a 20:1 multiplier in property value within its geographic boundary from the present $40.2 million to $803 million. The estimate is based on new development of over 5,000 housing units, five million square feet of commercial space (62% office) and 307,000 of civic spaces (City Hall, library and/or school facilities).
No figures regarding the TAD have been presented as official or final, but will be confirmed in a TAD resolution by the city council after a legally required Public Hearing is held this summer. The resolution will then have to be approved by DeKalb Commissioners and the DeKalb School Board for the full $247 million to be raised.
According to the Bleakly plan, “Doraville’s share of TAD revenue is just 20% of (the) total, if the county and school system participate.” Gillen confided after the meeting that the city’s portion would not be pursued without county and school system participation.
The most costly infrastructure project, a proposed “covered street” (below the rail tracks) that connects Assembly to the city, has always been included in TAD discussions, earlier by Integral principals to city council at $90 million. That cost was not specified in the Bleakly presentation, but it is assumed to be part of $123 million in “transportation and mobility” programs.
Bleakly senior associate Jonathan Gelber told Brookhaven Post that the $247 million for the envisioned TAD will likely be in raised in four bond packages over twenty years. The bonds will be pursued as (vertical) developers come on line. Bond repayment comes from tax revenue sequestered in a dedicated TAD and any default would be borne by investors, not city/county taxpayers. When asked about the city’s legal bond capacity, Gelber was quick to point out that it is irrelevant to a TAD program and a reference to such in this report would be “misleading”.
Integral Group’s Eric Pinkney also updated citizens on Assembly’s progress. All materials from demolition will be transported from the site by the end of 2015 and infrastructure development will start in January, 2016. Meeting attendees were informed the recently announced movie production facility will break ground in sixty days and expected to be open by next spring, also on seven acres.