Development Authority Rejects Poplar Place Bond Funding Plan
A request for bond financing for infrastructure, a parking deck and the first office building for the Poplar Place development was firmly rejected by the Coweta County Development Authority on Thursday.
The board voted 4 to 1 against partnering with the Barry Companies to issue bonds for the 42-acre project.
The developer also planned to seek designation of the project as a “special services district”, which would have allowed the revenue that would come from property taxes from the development to pay off those obligations.
The DSS isn’t exactly a “tax abatement”, but a lot of the money development landowners would pay in taxes or “assessments” wouldn’t have gone to the county, the school system and to the town of Newnan, but would rather go and pay the bonds.
But the SSD’s request was separate from what was presented to the Coweta County Development Authority on Thursday.
Poplar Place is a proposed mixed-use development for 42 acres along Poplar Road and Interstate 85, across from Piedmont Newnan Hospital.
Newnan Town Council voted in February to approve the annexation and rezoning of the land. The land is zoned MXD: Mixed Use Development. The proposal is for 450,000 square feet of office space in three buildings, 101 townhouses, 155 “active” seniors’ multifamily units, 350 apartments, retail and dining space, and a 140-key hotel. .
The main reason for the rejection of bond financing is that it is simply not what the CCDA does.
Authority members told Barry that the development authority was not encouraging commercial, commercial or residential development, said Scott Berta, project manager for the CCDA.
“They’ve never had one in the history of the development authority,” Berta said. “Our job is to create better paying jobs and capital investment.”
The application was for bond financing for the entire horizontal infrastructure of the first phase, as well as parking and surface parking, and an office building. According to the presentation presented to the CCDA, the infrastructure costs for the first phase are estimated at $34.5 million.
This infrastructure would have prepared the site for the planned residential, commercial and office development on the site, Berta said.
Although the CCDA rejected the current proposal, bond financing for a Class A office building and associated parking lot is something the authority could support, Berta said. And Barry and his team have been made aware of this in discussions held so far, he said.
They might come back at a future meeting with a new presentation, Berta said.
Barry said Friday they would now move forward with Plan B, but said he was not ready to release any information on Plan B.
Authority member Norman Lundin originally asked to abstain from voting, Berta said. However, the authority’s rules did not allow abstentions, so Lundin changed his vote to be in favor of the bond financing.
Barry said Friday he was disappointed with the result. Several years ago the development authority and the chamber approached him and asked him to help create better paying jobs in Coweta, he said.
It takes more than just building a Class A office building, according to Barry.
“Developing prime office space south of Atlanta is difficult enough,” he said. “You can’t do that unless you create something more than just an office building.”
Before a special service district can be created, the county or city — and it’s not currently clear which — would have to pass an ordinance allowing SSDs and then vote to create one for Poplar Place, according to Berta.
At the meeting, Barry and his team presented scenarios for an SSD lasting 30, 25, and 20 years. After this period, the SSD would expire and taxation would return to normal.
The SSD allows the site owner to set their own mileage rate, Berta said. The proposal is for a tax rate of 33 million. Currently, property owners in the town of Newnan pay a property tax of 26.876 mills.
During the first few years, all the money generated by this valuation of 33 thousand would be used to reimburse the debt service on the bonds and to constitute a reserve requirement that could guarantee the payment of the debt service in the event of a problem, such as a slowdown. in the economy, according to Berta.
Once the required reserve is built up, revenue beyond what is needed to pay the bonds each year would go to the county, city and school system, according to Berta.
“Essentially, it would work like a 100% tax abatement for the first few years,” Berta said. “Then, once the reserve fund was built, the structures became vertical and the value increased, the city, county and school system would begin to collect revenue from the difference.”