Tax breaks to be weighed for MARTA TOD project

The city of Atlanta’s development arm will consider tax incentives for a $40 million project designed to create new workforce housing as well as boost ridership and create new revenue for MARTA by converting underused land near stations into mixed-use neighborhoods.

Columbia Venture Edgewood Candler Park

Rendering of the new Columbia Ventures project at the Edgewood-Candler Park MARTA station.

The board of Invest Atlanta on Thursday is expected to consider a nearly $2 million tax break for an apartment and retail development at the Edgewood-Candler Park MARTA station. Developer Columbia Ventures plans a five-story project that is expected to include 224 apartments, retail space, a separate commercial building and a performing arts facility for a “youth-focused” non-profit, according to Invest Atlanta documents.

The commercial building and performing arts facility are not subject to the tax incentives, but the documents state that developer Columbia Ventures plans to finance construction of that portion of the development with New Market Tax Credits, a financial vehicle to encourage development in lower income areas.

The 10-year property tax break is the carrot in a city strategy to encourage developers of apartment towers to offer housing that Atlanta residents who make 80 percent of the average median income can afford. The aim is for better quality housing choices and to help grow the city’s population.

Twenty-three apartments are expected to be set aside for workforce housing.

Market rents are expected to range from $1,036 per month for studio units to $2,000 per month for two-bedroom apartments. Units designated as workforce housing are expected to rent for $954 per month for studios and $1,227 per month for two-bedroom apartments, according to the documents.

The incentives total about $8,900 per apartment overall, or about $86,500 per unit designated as affordable.

The MARTA-owned property is currently not generating any property tax revenue, the city says. Following development it is expected to generate nearly $6 million over a decade in new property tax revenue after deducting the anticipated tax savings, the documents state.

MARTA has brought underused land at several of its stations to market to encourage denser development in a bid to create a new revenue stream and boost transit trips. Stations in Brookhaven, Chamblee and Oakland City are among the other projects in the agency’s transit-oriented development pipeline.

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