Atlanta’s got a new Southside community and economic development manager. Erika Smith says she’s looking at things for the Southside from destination dining to helping out mom-and-pop small businesses.
Norfolk Southern’s plan to secure up to $600 million in funding for a new office building from Invest Atlanta, the city’s development arm, was deferred Thursday. In addition, Norfolk’s mayor was quoted Thursday saying the company’s move from Norfolk may not happen as soon as some think, and the company’s latest federal financial report portrays it as being in a strong financial position in the booming transportation sector.
Three days after Atlanta City Council approved public financing for a developer planning a huge rebuild in the Gulch, the city’s economic development authority ratified financial and development deals to advance the project.
For starters, the monthly rent is to jump by nearly 50 percent at one proposed apartment complex that’s to replace a planned teardown of duplexes located north of Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery. This is just one of several developments that may give members of the Atlanta City Council an opportunity to ponder aloud the city’s state of affordable housing.
After Atlanta provided the Georgia Aquarium with $80 million in financing at favorable terms in 2009 to build a dolphin exhibit, the aquarium’s revenues soared by 23 percent, compared to the year before the exhibit opened. The return on the city’s latest financial support for the aquarium – up to $7.5 million – remains to be determined.
Atlanta’s development authority board is thankful for the philanthropy behind a valuable tourist draw Downtown, but not everyone thinks the city should show its appreciation by spending that $7.5 million from a special tax fund on the aquarium.
Some at Atlanta’s development authority have recommended their colleagues spend $7.5 million from a special tax fund on the $108 million expansion of the private Georgia Aquarium. But the full board may ask whether a new shark exhibit request comes when there are more pressing public needs.
The nonprofit Partners for Prosperity should be reworked to distinguish it more from the city’s development authority, according to the law firm that reviewed the nonprofit’s operations after an unusual $40,000 transaction involving City Hall.
Atlanta City Council is wading into some proposals about if to allocate (and millions and millions) of tax dollars to private developers to try and encourage building in a pair of special zones on either side of the Connector. Ground zero is Downtown’s Gulch.
The board of Atlanta’s investment authority on Thursday approved deals that include tax breaks worth $16.1 million over ten years meant to help jumpstart three big developments. But with an eye toward property tax bills going out soon to homeowners, critics asked whether the city needs to be handing out breaks for these works.
A big yellow excavator at Spencer and Walnut streets in Vine City was still on Friday morning — but just for a while, so folks could enjoy a ceremony to mark the groundbreaking for an apartment being built there so that seniors can afford it.