By John Schaffner
johnschaffner@reporternewspapers.net

The Perimeter Community Improvement Districts have been implementing transportation enhancements and land-use and zoning strategies to improve traffic in to the Perimeter area for more than a decade.

Formed to support the two county governments that controlled the area before the formation of the cities of Sandy Springs and Dunwoody, the PCID organization now finds itself serving the development interests of businesses in two counties and two cities.

They’re friendly, but competitive neighbors in one of the region’s most dynamic markets.

According to the PCID, the Perimeter business district is the region’s largest employment district and one of the largest concentrations of Class A corporate office space in the Southeast.It has a concentration of Fortune 500 companies, 125 companies with 100 or more employees, the state’s largest cluster of medical facilities, and an estimated population that could be the region’s largest by 2025. As of 2009, there were 100,000 jobs in the area, with 124,674 jobs expected between 2009 and 2013. Overall, the district represents a $3-billion real estate investment in the metro Atlanta region.

The Perimeter CIDs — the Central (DeKalb) and Fulton Perimeter CIDs — are self-taxing districts that use additional property taxes—collected through self-imposed assessments on commercial property owners—to help accelerate transportation and other infrastructure improvement projects. Since their inception in 1999 and 2001, the various improvement districts have contributed $14.2 million in additional property taxes for transportation and other infrastructure projects completed or under way in the area and helped to leverage $86.3 million more in federal and state funds— something advocates tout as a 6-to-1 return on investment.

“We have a good leadership team here in place and a very strong managerial staff and strong board of directors and we represent the business community,” said Yvonne Williams, president and CEO of PCID. “It is incumbent on all of us to be together, especially if we are going to be dealing with a new administration at the Capitol.”

In the area covered by the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts, there are:

  • 40,000 residents
  • 4,000 businesses
  • 248 office buildings
  • More than 100,000+ employees
  • More than 30,000 households
  • 28 million square feet of office space
  • 6 million square feet of retail space
  • Three MARTA rail stations

Williams said the CIDs’ focus should be on “having our act together” when projects need shared resources. “We will have to be organized,” she said, “or we will be in gridlock.”

Williams considers Sandy Springs and Dunwoody to be equally active with the CID—“sometimes on different levels because of different projects or activities.” Williams called the proposed “diverging diamond interchange” at the intersection of Ashford-Dunwoody Road and I-285 one of “the first innovative engineering design for the state of Georgia.”