Published on June 3rd, 2015 |3
‘Last resort’ Council action seeks funds to save Moores Mill project
If it passes City Council, the $800,000 would be added to $300,000 that likely could be appropriated by Invest Atlanta to provide the $1.1 million estimated cost for the Moores Mill Road extension project, which would allow the Edens Company of South Carolina to proceed with its multi-use redevelopment.
Moore told BuckheadView that Edens is working with Invest Atlanta on another possible solution to funding the extension of Moores Mill Road and moving redevelopment of the abandoned Moores Mill Shopping Center forward after it has been stalled for more than a decade.
The Edens project proposes to replace the derelict Moores Mill Shopping Center with a 45,600-square-foot anchor Publix supermarket, 11,800-square-foot CVS Pharmacy and 24,300 square feet of additional retail and restaurants, along with 345 residential units.
The total project investment is estimated between $90 million and $100 million, with $40 million in the retail component and $50 million to $60 million in the residential part of the development. The project is estimated to generate $2 million in annual sales tax revenue, 255 construction jobs and 284 permanent jobs.
Moore, who has seven other City Council members as co-sponsors of her legislation, had previously tried to get Invest Atlanta to upfront the total amount for the extension of Moores Mill Road, which Edens said was critical for Publix to participate in the redevelopment project, which has been idled for a decade.
This residents in this area of northwest Atlanta—which includes residents in northwest Buckhead—have long been deprived of a nearby major grocery store, living in what has been described as a “food desert”. Most end up driving into Cobb County to a Kroger store, allowing Cobb to benefit from their sales tax dollars.
In an email to BuckheadView Tuesday afternoon, Moore wrote, “In an effort to fully fund and construct the entire extension of Moores Mill Road, I am requesting the use of Transportation Impact Fee funds. This will require the approval of the Atlanta City Council.”
Moore introduced the legislation at Monday’s City council meeting with the co-sponsorship of Council members Yolanda Adrean, Mary Noorwood and Alex Wan (of Buckhead), Andre Dickens, Ivory Lee Young, Natalyn Archibong and Joyce Sheperd. Moore also represents a small part of west Buckhead.
“Invest Atlanta has not yet decided to allocate the needed funding,” Moore wrote in her email. “They are working with Edens on an option. However, it is still in the approval process. I’m considering this option as a ‘last resort’, which is why I am seeking another source of funding.”
Moore told BuckheadView that there is “approximately $9.6 million in unrestricted transportation development impact fees” available. Invest Atlanta has committed $500,000 of matching funds to Phase 1 of the Moores Mill project from TAD funds. Allocating $300,000 to the road project now would still leave $200,000 of those funds to be allocated to the project at a later date.
In 2013, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) awarded Atlanta $2 million to build the Moores Mill Road Extension Project with matching funds of $500,000 from the Perry/Bolton Tax Allocation District (TAD) funds managed by Invest Atlanta. But the federal funds are currently on hold.
Moore told BuckheadView, “If the federal funds come into play before the money is used for this purpose, then the federal money would be used.”
However, given the delay in obtaining the federal funds and Edens construction timeline to open the Publix supermarket in the Spring of 2017 (which would require a start date this year), finding a funding solution for the extension of the road right now is crucial to the future of the project, Moore has said.
Moore’s legislation will go before the council’s Finance/Executive Committee at its Wednesday June 10 meeting at 1 p.m. at Atlanta City Hall. Presumably, it then would be heard by full council at its meeting on Monday, June 15 at 1 p.m.
In an email to her constituents, Moore wrote, “It is imperative that you let your voice be heard on this issue by calling, emailing, and hopefully attending the meetings when this issue is discussed
and voted on” during the upcoming weeks. Those wishing to speak for a limited two minutes at the full Council meeting June 15 must sign up before the meeting begins.
The negotiations over the Moores Mill Road extension and the Edens development plans was the main discussion topic May 20 at the meeting of the Northwest Community Alliance of neighborhoods and businesses. The discussion leaders were Dist. 9 Councilwoman Moore and northwest Atlanta community activist Karyn Hudson.
Moore said this issue has been around since she first became a member of City Council and the road extension has been on the books since 2002 or 2003, when Edens came on board and even before that.
Hudson pointed out that Edens originally was to get $20 million from the $30 million bond and is now getting just $5 million, of which $500,000 was set aside for the road work.
“Our neighborhoods have worked so long for this we can’t let it go away,” Hudson told an audience of about 50 at the NCA meeting.
Moore told that crowd, “I am a representative of the city of Atlanta. It pains me to give my sales tax money to Cobb County” by having to drive there to shop at the closest grocery store. “Cobb County has benefitted from our inaction,” she added.