City reaches agreement with Gulch developer for ‘public purpose initiatives’

A birds-eye view of The Gulch project, which sits adjacent to Philips Arena and Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Courtesy CIM Group)

The City of Atlanta has reached a proposed agreement with CIM Spring St. for the development of the Downtown warren of below-street parking lots and viaducts known as the Gulch.  The Atlanta City Council is expected to vote on the wide-ranging agreement at its Sept. 17 meeting.

According to a media release, the agreement includes property exchanges and public purpose initiatives that support the city’s goals in regard to affordable housing, public safety and economic development. CIM wants to develop the site as a massive mixed-use development with offices, retail, hotels and homes. The Gulch is also being touted as a prime location for Amazon’s second headquarters, HQ2.

CIM has agreed to the following:

  • An investment of $28 million into a trust fund that will be used to increase affordable housing citywide
  • A commitment to construct a minimum of 200 residential units or 20 percent of the total built, whichever is greater, as affordable housing
  • An investment of $12 million into an economic development fund that will be used to encourage new investment citywide
  • A commitment of $2 million towards the implementation of the Atlanta Committee for Progress-designed workforce development plan
  • The construction of a new Atlanta Police Department mini-precinct, which will be leased to the city for $1 per year
  • The construction of a new, seven-bay fire station or $12 million towards the cost of building a new station
  • Security enhancements in the area including public safety call boxes and cameras
  • A commitment to lease office space for Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm, at 50 percent below market rate
  • A commitment to host the annual New Year’s Eve Peach Drop for the next 10 years at no rental cost to the event organizers
  • Construction of a new Nelson Street Bridge at an estimated cost of $5 million
  • Establishment of a commemorative marker recognizing Carrie Steele Logan’s creation of the first orphanage to serve African American children in Georgia
  • A commitment to a goal of at least 38 percent utilization of minority and female owned businesses and to offer 10 percent equity to minority and female business enterprises.
  • An agreement to cover all customary fees associated with redevelopment projects

Also as part of the agreement, CIM Spring St. will renovate office buildings at 185 Spring Street and 160 Trinity Avenue.  The developer will also demolish the building currently at 175 Spring Street, making the space available for parking along with the Packard Parking Lot, which will be resurfaced.  In exchange, the City is giving a warehouse at 2 City Plaza and the 2 City Plaza parking lots on Fairlie Street to the developer. The end result will be approximately 35 usable acres of new infrastructure, roads, sidewalks, open space and city parks in a previously undeveloped area of Downtown.

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