As our city continues to grow, we know that development will happen. We also understand that if we want to live in a city that is equitable for all, then we must have responsible transparent development that includes everyone from every spectrum. There is a precedent that has been set in this city that gives benefits to developers and not communities.
Come learn more about why we believe the Gulch project would be a major loss for our city and what we can do together to build an Atlanta that works for everyone! FB event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1942559159154081/
WHY IS THIS A BAD DEAL?
1. Public cost is at least 20 times the public benefit. Grossly disproportionate cost/benefit in CIM’s favor. Council did well to hold it - needs an independent, professional review of this deal.
2. Public cost is about $2.3Bn at 2018 prices , of which $2Bn is property tax and $0.3bn in sales tax. In return, public benefits are only worth, on generous interpretation, about $100mm.
3. When the public is putting in as much as 40% of the cost to develop a private, commercial project, the public should own 40% of it. Instead, we will own nothing. The only explanation for this grotesque imbalance of advantage is CIM’s Abject Greed.
4. The numbers. Property tax on a $5bn project when it’s complete - in 2032, per developer’s schedule - would be $90mm / yr. APS (the schools) would be losing out on $45mm / yr and the city and county $22.5mm / yr each.
5. Despite all the smoke from the project’s boosters, this lost property tax really IS a cost to the public. Because if offices, hotels etc. are NOT built in a tax-free Gulch, they will be built in taxable parts of town, such as Tech Square, Midtown, S Downtown, Atlantic Station, Buckhead and around the Beltline. If CIM does not get this deal, the demand for office, etc. will be met by developers in places where new construction pays taxes.
6. The same is true of the sales tax. This scheme would short the city and the state of some $300mm at 2018 prices thru 2048. Retail sales demand is not going to be created by putting stores in the Gulch. Those sales are going to happen somewhere in town, and the only question is whether they pay tax to the state and the general fund or not. So the total revenue loss IS $2.3 Billion. That is $5,000 per man, woman and child resident in the city. It is equivalent to a $20,000 donation from every family of four in Atlanta to the billionaire Ressler brothers.
7. The public benefits that have been dribbled out amount generously to around $100mm. The different cash funds are easy to add up: $42mm (though with no guarantee they’ll be spent to create real community benefit). The 200 housing units affordable at 80% AMI are worth $10mm, unless CIM guarantees 99 years with no further subsidy, which would make them worth $60mm. Total value from $52mm- $102mm.
8. The hard sell for this deal pretends that it brings 37,000 jobs to town. That is nonsense. Employers bring jobs to town – over 40,000 in the past 6 years – NCR, Worldpay, Honeywell, Anthem, Kaiser and so on – for our competitive talent, universities and airport. Office towers do not bring jobs here. (If they did, we’d have had no unemployment in the great recession, because we sure had masses of empty office towers.) So the scheme does not bring one single job here.
9. Similarly the sales pitch takes credit for 1800 construction jobs. But office towers are going to be built in the city to meet employer demand. So the same construction jobs will be here, whether those offices are built in the Gulch or in S Downtown and elsewhere. Handing over a $2bn subsidy will not result in more offices being built than are needed or more construction jobs.
10. The final arm-twist on Council has been a Norfolk Southern deal. N-S wants us to give this enormous subsidy to CIM so that NS can sell Gulch land to CIM at a big profit. There’s nothing in that for the public. But NS might move 1,000 HQ people here in a consolidation. To justify a $2bn subsidy, we’d need not 1,000 jobs but about 600,000 jobs! That’s more than twice the total number of jobs in the entire city (and 12 times the size of Amazon HQ2).
NO MORE PRIVATE DEALS WITH PUBLIC DOLLARS! We can not sit idle, while communities are being ignored and left out of decision making processes that deeply impact us. We need YOU! We need you to stand up and speak out on back door development deals like the Gulch! The deal is unbalanced and will leave the residents holding an empty bag!!