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Atlanta board approves property tax break for affordable East Lake apartments

Sketch of proposed TAMA Glenwood development in East Lake

A sketch of the Tama Glenwood development (Special)

By Maggie Lee

Perennial Properties got the OK for a property tax break worth $2.56 million over 10 years on its Tama development in East Lake, after it improved an offer of below-market-rate housing.

A total 45 units in the 230-unit development beside Publix will be priced for 15 years so that they’re affordable for families making a bit below metro Atlanta’s median income.

That’s a rent as low as $1,205 for a one-bedroom apartment.

The board of Invest Atlanta, the city’s development authority, had sent a July Perennial offer  back to the drawing board. At that point, the developer was offering the same below-market-rate rents but only for 10 years. That version of Tama would have also had slightly fewer units overall. And the deal was expected to net Perennial some $457,000.

Under the new terms, Perennial estimates it will cumulatively lose $2.2 million in rents on the affordable units over 15 years, in part because affordable rents can’t be raised as quickly as market-rate rents. (Or in other terms, Perennial estimates it will miss out on $4.8 million in rents, of which $2.56 million would be covered by the tax break.)

Atlanta’s and Fulton’s development authorities regularly try to boost the city’s below-market-rate housing supply by offering property tax breaks to developers who will price some new units for folks on the bottom half of the income ladder. The state also gives tax incentives for building below-market-rate housing.

This time instead of debate, Invest Atlanta’s board quickly approved the deal. But one board member signaled aloud what he’s looking for even as he thanked Perennial for reworking its proposal.

“Our goal hopefully going forward will not be to meet the minimum guidance of the ordinance or the city, but to better match the needs of the community,” said Invest Atlanta Board member Randy Hazelton. “We hope that going forward, we can still continue to push the envelope around better accommodating affordability.”


Tama’s below-market-rate units are priced for folks at 80% of the area median income, a number that varies by year. More details on the Tama Glenwood rents are on Invest Atlanta’s fact sheet.

Clarification: The parenthetical sentence above was added after publication, to indicate that the developer projects a net loss in rental income from this deal.
Maggie Lee

Maggie Lee is a freelance reporter who's been covering Georgia and metro Atlanta government and politics since 2008.


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