Mayor Kasim Reed vetoed a plan to use city money to build a road for a shopping center on Moores Mill Road, but the project will move forward anyway, city officials say.

On Nov. 2, Atlanta City Council voted to spend $800,000 from transportation development impact fees to partially fund an extension of Moores Mill Road. On Nov. 10, Reed vetoed the expenditure, saying $2 million had been authorized by the Federal Highway Administration for the completion of the project.

Reed’s office said the Moores Mill Extension and a realignment of Adams Drive now will be financed through federal funds and $500,000 in public funds from Invest Atlanta. The total cost of both projects is expected to be about $2.2 million.

Edens, a South Carolina-based development company, has said that if the roads are built, it would move forward with a $40 million shopping center project in the area that would include a 45,000-square-foot Publix supermarket, retail shops and apartments.

Reed said using federal funds would allow the city to save local taxpayer dollars and local impact fees for use on projects that do not qualify for federal funds.

The city can access the federal dollars as early as January 2016, which has no negative impact on the current construction schedule provided by Edens.

Reed’s 11th-hour veto initially angered council members, who threatened to override it.

Dist. 8 Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean, who represents a portion of Buckhead, told members of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods on Nov. 8 that she had spoken with Reed earlier in the day and he was committed to making sure the road extension and mixed-use development attached to it would go forward, but not by using city impact fees.

“Mayor Reed said there is federal money available so we wouldn’t have to tap into the impact fees,” Adrean said. “He [Reed] said we could use the $800,000 from impact fees as a backstop to make sure the project goes forward.”

Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm, committed $500,000 for a road extension that would create a signalized entrance to the mixed-use project.

The additional $800,000 to build the road extension that would connect Moores Mill to Marietta Boulevard would have come from impact fees from both Adrean and Dist. 9 Councilwoman Felicia Moore’s available funds.

However, there is concern that using the mix of federal dollars and local money will delay the project and force the developer to move on.

Demolition of the abandoned shopping center on Moores Mill Road was to begin after the first of the year to make way for the new mixed-used project.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.