ATLANTA — Plans to expand Ponce City Market included a request for millions in new tax breaks this week. But now that request is on hold.
Some of Atlanta’s most valuable and desirable real estate can be found along the Beltline Eastside Trail and Ponce City Market is at the heart of it.
The developer of Ponce City Market wants to build an officer tower and apartment building on parking lots surrounding the building.
In a fact sheet, the developer submitted to the Fulton County Development Authority, Jamestown asked for $8 million in a new property tax break to expand.
Channel 2 investigator reporter Justin Gray learned Jamestown pulled the proposal just before the meeting this week, likely because it did not have the votes.
“We are continuing our conversations with DAFC and are encouraged by the response to date but have opted to pause our application so that we can appropriately and substantively respond to feedback from staff and board members,” CEO Matt Bronfman wrote in a statement.
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Julian Bene previously served on the Invest Atlanta board and has been a vocal critic of big tax breaks for developments that he says don’t need them.
“It’s corporate welfare in the extreme. It’s greed and they need to be stopped,” Bene told Gray.
A short walk up the Beltline from Ponce City Market, other developers had asked for more than $20 million in tax breaks from Invest Atlanta. They are building the project anyway, even though they did not get the tax break.
“The idea, well if you don’t give us the break, we’ll walk away — it’s clearly not true,” Bene said.
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In a series of Channel 2 Action News and Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigations over the summer, Channel 2′s Richard Belcher uncovered a culture of loose financial management at the developmental authority.
Since that investigation, half the board membership has changed. The new board appears to have a new dim view of tax breaks like the Ponce City Market proposal.
The tax break request is not necessarily dead. Jamestown could still bring the request back to a later meeting.
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