By David Pendered
The Atlanta City Council is determined to see that Moores Mill Road is extended so that a shopping center can be built, a commercial development that’s seen as essential to the revitalization of neighborhoods southwest of Buckhead.
This area started to take off as a hot residential address almost 20 years ago. But growth has sputtered for reasons including the lack of easy access to a full service grocery store and similar merchant services. The closest such shops are more than 2 miles from the planned development, which is located between CSX’s Tilford Yard and the Chattahoochee River.
The developer, Edens, already has agreed to build and dedicate to the city the 900-foot-long road extension and sidewalks on land the company now owns, according to legislation. Atlanta’s Department of Public Works is to oversee the project, to ensure the work meets city standards.
In exchange for building the road extension, Edens is to be reimbursed up to the amount of $800,000 to cover partial costs of the project, according to the legislation.
This agreement is the reason the council is adamant that funding be secured to repay Edens for the public project. Members want to ensure money is available to fulfill the agreement.
The council passed legislation at its Dec. 7, 2015 meeting that provided $800,000 in city funds if federal funds for the road extension haven’t been received by April 1.
The legislation was the council’s response to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s veto of legislation the council approved in November. That paper provided $800,000 for the road extension.
After Reed vetoed the legislation, a letter posted on Reed’s Facebook page explained the mayor’s veto. In the letter, Reed claimed credit for the planned shopping center and for the road extension to be built with federal funds rather than local dollars.
Reed’s letter stated, in part:
- “Only through the work of my Administration has any progress been made on the Moore’s Mill Village redevelopment. My veto of the legislation appropriating $800,000 in city funds to the Moore’s Mill Road Extension Phase 1 project was prompted by information supplied on Monday, November 9 and Tuesday, November 10, 2015 that $2,000,000 in federal funds had been authorized by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in May 2015. Further, at the City’s request, the FHWA funds were ‘flexed’ into Federal Transit Administration funds, which require a smaller percentage in local matching funds.”
The council chose not to seek to overturn the mayor’s veto. Instead, four councilmembers co-sponsored legislation providing the use of local money if federal funds have not been received by April 1. This is the legislation the council approved Dec. 7, 2015.
The sponsors the legislation were councilmembers Felicia Moore, Andre Dickens, Mary Norwood and Yolanda Adrean.
The heart of the legislation observes:
- “WHEREAS, the timing of the public funding and construction of the Moores Mill Road Extension Phase I are critical to the adjacent mixed use project, and therefore to the public health, safety and welfare; and
- WHEREAS, acceptance and use of the federal funds is the subject of companion legislation; and
- “WHEREAS, in the event the federal funds are not received by the end of the first quarter of 2016, such that the timing of receipt of funds would not frustrate the planned mixed use project, said project should be funded with transportation development impact fees in furtherance of the public health, safety and welfare of the surrounding neighborhood’s welfare.”
Evidently, Reed did not veto this piece of legislation. The council’s agenda for its Monday meeting has nothing listed under the section titled, “Consideration of vetoed legislation.”
The extension will enable Edens to develop a mixed use project with a total build-out cost of $90 million to $100 million.
Edens plans to build a shopping center anchored by Publix Supermarket, with a CVS Pharmacy and 24,300 square feet for retail shops and restaurants, according to previous legislation. The residential component of the project calls for construction of 345 homes.