Carter, MARTA agree to payment plan at Lindbergh City Center
By David Pendered
This story was revised Wednesday with additional information from Carter and MARTA.
The master developer of MARTA’s Lindbergh City Center has worked out terms for a $91,000 payment it owes the transit system, MARTA officials said Tuesday.
MARTA and Carter, a major Atlanta developer, agree the money is owed and is a reconciliation of a portion of the ground lease at the Lindbergh station. Carter’s base payment in 2012 was $496,000, and the company has been paying it quarterly.
“We asked to pay in installments due to the unexpected nature of the charges,” said Scott Stringer, Carter’s executive vice president.
MARTA sent the bill to Carter last summer. According to John Crocker, MARTA’s director of development and regional coordination:
“The approximate $91,000 is a true-up (reconciliation) amount due to a misinterpretation of the start of base rent year for the building containing HTI (corner of Piedmont and Morosgo). Carter is paying their annual rent and requested to pay the true-up over three installments in September 2012, January 2013 and May 2013 to which MARTA agreed since the payments all occur within FY [fiscal year] 2013.”
Carter paid a third of the sum in September and arranged terms with MARTA to pay an interest rate of 7.5 percent on the balance. Payments are due Jan. 1 and May 1, Crocker said.
Crocker said there is no indication that the recession has hurt Carter’s holdings at Lindbergh. The site is MARTA’s signature effort to develop live-work-play communities on unused land around its train stations.
Rather, Crocker said, the development seems to be doing fine amidst the economic downturn that has hammered Atlanta’s commercial real estate industry.
“AT&T has moved in another 1,800 employees; they’re still consolidating people,” Crocker said. “Another things we have heard is that both Uptown Square and Eon [apartment homes] are very low vacancy rates – the apartments are quite popular.”
The payment issue emerged in July, when MARTA presented Carter with a bill for $91,000. The payment was in addition to Carter’s additional lease payments due on its share of the MARTA site that faces Piedmont Road, in Buckhead.
Carter looked into the matter and agreed the money was owed, according to Carter spokesman Tony Wilbert. Stringer said Carter asked to make payments over time because of the unexpected nature of the bill.
“We agreed to it, if they provided interest,” Crocker said. “They’re paying what they owe, but in three payments instead of one.”
MARTA delved into the public-private development venture for reasons including: Creating new revenue streams to support the transit system, which in this case is the ground lease at Lindbergh; Proving the market for transit oriented developments.
MARTA expects to go to market soon with its first effort in six years to develop a new transit oriented development. King Memorial Station may be the first to be presented.