Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst will hold a town hall meeting on Thursday, April 28, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Montclair Elementary School, 1680 Clairmont Place, Brookhaven, GA 30329.

Ernst has invited Alfie Meek,  director of the Center for Economic Development Research at Georgia Tech, to give a presentation on “Measuring the Fiscal Impact of Development Projects” from 6:40 p.m. to 7:25 p.m. A Q&A will follow and last until  7:55 p.m.

Ernst has said he wanted this town hall to explain the $36 million tax abatement Brookhaven authorized to give to the Atlanta Hawsk as part of a deal to bring the Hawks and Emory Healthcare to build a new state-of-the art sports facility in Executive Park.

The facility will combine the Hawks’ training facility and Operations Department with Emory sports medicine facilities. Emory will become the team’s official sports medicine provider and gets naming rights to the facility. Emory’s entire Sports Medicine Center will move to the Brookhaven site as well.

The Emory/Hawks partnership is a $50 million deal for the land purchase and building construction with $14 million being covered by Emory Healthcare and the Hawks funding $36 million. Emory University will then provide a ground lease to the Hawks for the practice facility.

To secure the deal to have the Hawks and Emory locate the facility in Brookhaven, city officials agreed to offer the Hawks a $36 million tax abatement.
That means that after the building is constructed, the Hawks will transfer ownership of it to the Brookhaven Development Authority. Because the authority is a governmental agency, it is not required to pay taxes.

“It was a ‘use it or lose it’ kind of situation,” Ernst said about the tax abatement.

To have a tax abatement, the authority must own the land, Ernst said, because government agencies don’t pay taxes.

In turn, the DA then issues a $36 million bond that is purchased by the Hawks, he explained. “There is no debt. The building is the only collateral,” he said.

In return for the tax abatement, the Hawks will pay the authority $302,900 a year for 15 years. The deal in turn saves the Hawks $302,900 in taxes.

This is a100 percent tax abatement, Ernst said. Without the abatement, the Hawks would end up paying more than $600,000 a year in taxes.

Ernst also said that had Emory and the Hawks decided to build in Executive Park with no assist from the city of Brookhaven, the city would have only received about $35,000 a year in taxes – the rest would have gone to county and state governments.

Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.