Published on August 19th, 2015 |0
Moores Mill Shopping Center redo expected to begin 1st quarter 2016
Speaking to the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods on Aug. 13—a group which had just resumed its monthly meetings after a two-month summer break—Moore said she believes demolition of the abandoned shopping center at the intersection of Moores Mill and Bolton roads will happen in the first quarter of 2016.
She said South Carolina-based developer Edens is still finalizing agreements with Publix for its 45,000-square-foot anchor store for the redeveloped center. She added that Publix may have backed down somewhat on its demand that Moores Mill Road be extended through the center to Marietta Boulevard.
Moore also said Edens, which also is owner of extensive blocks of commercial property in Buckhead, is vetting potential developers to do the residential portion of the $40 million project, which would include apartments along with additional retail shops.
“The issue with the road still continues,” Moore told the group of neighborhood representatives. “The extension of Moores Mill Road and Adams Drive to Marietta Boulevard was one project and was to be funded with federal money.” But the federal money is tied up in Congress.
Moore admitted she did not get anywhere trying to get Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development
agency, to fund the extension of Moores Mill Road through the shopping center property to connect to Marietta Boulevard.
Invest Atlanta has already committed $500,000 for the road extension that would create a signalized entrance to the mixed-use project, but Moore said an additional $800,000 is needed to create the extension that would connect Moore’s Mill to Marietta Boulevard.
She said traffic backs up every day to I-75 and I-285 and this would allow another outlet for commuters to alleviate some of that.
She said, however, that Invest Atlanta got together with Edens—without her prior knowledge—and convinced Edens to just do part of the road
extension—essentially just “a glorified entrance from Bolton Road to the development, not all the way to Marietta Boulevard.”
Meanwhile, the Atlanta City Council voted in June to provide $800,000 to help complete the project since federal dollars for the extension are being held up in Congress, which has not reauthorized a transportation bill.
Moore had ushered through the ordinance to use money from the city’s transportation impact fee fund fearing that the developer might walk away if the road extension was not done as Publix was making a condition of being part of the decade-old project plan.
But Moore wound up voting against her own legislation when an amendment was added by Councilmember Keisha Lance Bottoms that would have allowed all the City Council members to dip
into the transportation impact fee fund account for an equal amount of money for their districts.
The council was warned that spreading the unallocated impact fee funding to all the districts was not allowed under current city guidelines and could face a legal challenge. The council ultimately repealed the legislation.
“It’s been a big song and dance,” Moore said, “but the project is going to happen.”
Moore said she now is awaiting word on possible funding from the Atlanta Regional Commission in September. She said if that doesn’t work, she has other ideas for ways to fund the road extension, including using money from the recently-approved Renew Atlanta infrastructure bond.
Moore told those attending the BCN meeting that her colleague, Dist. 8 City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean, who’s district virtually abuts the Moores Mill Shopping Center property, has offered to put some of her infrastructure bond money to go along with Moore’s to fund the road project.
There are two pots of money in the infrastructure bonds—one is allocated to citywide projects and the second is unallocated funds that are portioned out to each of the City Council districts. Moore said she is looking at the unallocated pot of funds.
Moore said that even if one of these sources works out to fund the road extension, the next issue will be to get Invest Atlanta to allow Edens to construct the road. She said if it is left up to the city to construct the road, it could take a year or more longer to construct it.
Moore said that, although Invest Atlanta has turned down her requests for funding of this project, the agency “recently spent $1.4 million for MLK Boulevard road work and allocated $500,000 for a road at Fort MacPherson for Mr. Perry.”
She also said most of the Renew Atlanta bond money spent so far has gone for repaving all the streets in City Council District 10. That is the district of City Councilman C.T. Martin, an ally of Mayor Kasim Reed, who has been outspoken about his dislike for Councilwoman Moore.