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Fulton board OKs property tax breaks for two BeltLine developments

Echo Street West sketch aerial view

Echo Street West sketch aerial view. Courtesy Lincoln Property Company

Echo Street West sketch aerial view. Courtesy Lincoln Property Company

By Maggie Lee

English Avenue’s Echo Street West and Boulevard Heights’ 680 Hamilton have gotten some support from Fulton County that developers say will help them turn around polluted properties.

A roughly 18-acre site at Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway and Northside Drive is set to become Echo Street West, a multi-purpose development by Dallas-based Lincoln Property Company.

The board of the Development Authority of Fulton County on Tuesday unanimously voted a property tax break worth about $10 million over 10 years for the development.

At a preliminary company presentation when it first requested the tax break, Lincoln said the mainly vacant site is beset by industrial pollution in the ground and out-of-date utilities that would cost money to fix.

Old pollution is a routine reason for asking for a property tax discount from development authority; and if a request gets as far as the board, it usually gets the OK. The transaction is often called a “lease-purchase bond” and it sees a public entity take part title to a property so that the property qualifies for a property tax break.

Big, new developments on empty sites add millions of new dollars to the county’s tax rolls. But on some deals, critics are often left wondering if the breaks are really necessary to get the developments off the ground, especially in hot neighborhoods.

Echo Street West would include about 278,100 square feet of office space, 50,700 square feet of commercial space, underground parking with 644 spaces for those areas. The residential part would include about 285 apartments plus 371 parking spaces.

City rules require developers to either pay a fee or set aside some below-market-rate homes in larger new developments within about a half-mile of the BeltLine for 20 years. Lincoln will offer about 57 units to families making up to 80% of the area median income.

(The formula for below-market-rate rents varies with time and family size, but 80% AMI suggests rent of about $1,500 for a family of two who are making no more than about $53,000.)

Attorney Allison Dyer of Holland & Knight, representing Lincoln at the board meeting, said the developer is in talks with neighborhood groups about a community benefits agreement and is coming up with a funding plan for it.

The site is bound roughly by Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, Northside Drive, Jefferson Street and James P. Brawley Way.

Lincoln’s plan replaces a 2018 plan from then-owner Brock Built Homes.

The old Brock plan would have put 1.3 million square feet of retail, commercial and residential building on the site. That’s about twice as dense as called for in the locally crafted Westside Land Use Framework Plan. Some residents condemned the Brock plan as too dense and too pricey.

Southeast BeltLine

In a separate vote, the board of the Development Authority of Fulton County approved a property tax break worth $2.4 million over 10 years for a mainly residental development at 680 Hamilton Avenue.

The development will include about 265 residential units, about 7,000 square feet of retail and about 375 parking spaces, mostly in a two-story parking deck.

That is, once the traces are all gone of 110,000 yards of old lime plus other pollution on the site at a cost of about $6 million, Tyler Gaines, leader of developer TPA Residential, told the board.

“It’s harder to get rid of material like that than would you think due the industrial nature of it,” he said.

By a 8-1 vote, the board approved the deal.

The development will include 40 units at below-market-rates for families making up to 80% of the area median income.


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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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