An illustration of the new City Hall in the City Center project.
An illustration of the new City Hall in the City Center project.

Sandy Springs officials on Sept. 15 authorized issuing up to $222 million in revenue bonds to fund the massive City Center project.

The actual bond issuance likely will be smaller, though still significant. The city’s financial advisers gave an estimate of a $156 million bond issuance for $180 million in proceeds. The entire City Center project budget has been estimated at $220 million.

“We know the amount we need will be significantly less…I want to make it clear we have no intention of borrowing $222 million,” said Mayor Rusty Paul.

The maximum bond amount—officially $222,712,000—just gives the city financial flexibility, City Manager John McDonough said.

Paul oversaw the two approval votes on the same night by both the Sandy Springs City Council and the city’s Public Facilities Authority. The two bodies have identical memberships.

The authority exists to own property and sign leases on behalf of the city. It “will eventually have ownership of all properties of City Center,” said city attorney Wendell Willard. The bonds will be paid off with lease revenue from the project.

The initial bond authorization is just the first step in an approval process that includes getting Fulton County Superior Court to validate the bond issuance. Such specific details as interest rates and maturity dates will be worked out in time for another dual meeting of the City Council and the Public Facilities Authority on Oct. 20.

City advisers did say they expect the city to receive a AAA bond rating, and that the bonds will be available in relatively small, retail packages that local residents could buy.

The City Center redevelopment targets the area where Roswell Road intersects with Johnson Ferry Road and Mount Vernon Highway. It will include a new City Hall, apartments, commercial space, and concert and theater halls.

The project soon will no longer be known as City Center. A new name and logo for the project and its surrounding district will be unveiled at a Sept. 20 ceremony.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

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