The Century Center office complex off Clairmont Road has asked to be annexed into the city of Brookhaven.
Highwoods Properties filed an annexation application June 21. The property owners decided to petition Brookhaven for annexation based on the quality of the services available, according to Jim Bacchetta, vice president of Highwoods Atlanta Division.
Brookhaven spokeswoman Megan Matteucci confirmed that the city has received the application.
“We have five days to review it and then give notice to DeKalb County,” Matteucci said. “Once the Community Development Department determines it’s a complete application, it will go before City Council and they will vote on it. I anticipate that will be next month.”
Matteucci said Brookhaven officials did not offer the property owners any special incentives to join the city.
“Century Center approached us and had questions, and was encouraged to submit an application,” Matteucci said. “Century Center property owners contacted the city manager, who in turn contacted the city attorney. The city manager recommended they file an application if they wanted to move forward in the process.”
If City Council approves the annexation application, Century Center would provide a huge boost to Brookhaven’s tax base.
But Jordan Fox, president of the Dresden East Civic Association, said he and his neighbors worry that if Century Center joins Brookhaven, their neighborhood would become an island of unincorporated DeKalb County.
“As you can imagine, we’re concerned by it because we have a pending referendum in November that would annex our area, including Century Center, into Chamblee,” Fox said. “It’s definitely something on our radar we’re very worried about.”
This is the second time residents of the neighborhood, known as DECA, have tried to join the city of Chamblee. An annexation referendum failed by a few votes last year, and due to technical issues with some ballots, the measure will go before voters again this year during municipal elections.
Fox said Chamblee likely would not want to annex DECA without Century Center.
“It’s highly doubtful because Chamblee cannot afford to take on residents of this area without a commercial base to support that,” Fox said. “We would be left as an unincorporated island with no tax base to support us.”
Century Center was drawn into the original boundary lines for the city of Brookhaven during initial incorporation discussions in 2011. DECA residents fought to have the area removed. They argued that taking the commercial area would limit their own future municipal options.
Brookhaven advocates agreed to remove the area from the proposed maps.
“Six months into cityhood, here they are looking to take it again, something they said two years ago was unfair and unjust, so it’s frustrating,” Fox said.
Brookhaven’s elected officials declined to comment on the potential annexation.
“The mayor and City Council cannot give comment regarding Century Center because we are reviewing the application,” Matteucci said.
Matteucci said Brookhaven officials reached out to the city of Chamblee to discuss the application on June 19.
But Fox said he doesn’t believe that’s enough.
“It’s disappointing to us that this has been going on behind the scenes for what seems like months, and Brookhaven officials have been looking at it without letting their residents know, without letting us know, without letting the city of Chamblee know,” Fox said. “This is another thing they’ve done that shows lack of transparency and lack of accountability to the people they represent and the region.”
According to Highwoods Properties, the 120-acre Century Center office complex is owned by Highwoods as well as Emily Fisher Crum, a Brookhaven resident and philanthropist. Centrury Center is located in unincorporated DeKalb County just south of Brookhaven’s city limits. The property is bounded by Clairmont Road, Century Boulevard, Century Parkway and I-85, according to Highwoods. The property also houses a half-mile of Peachtree Creek.
Century Center is home to the Atlanta Marriott Century Center and several general services administration agencies, including the FBI, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to Highwoods.