The Brookhaven Development Authority and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta entered into an intergovernmental agreement and community investment agreement totaling more than $20 million Dec. 6. The agreements came hours before the Planning Commission is set to take up CHOA’s zoning request to annex some nearly 20 acres into the city as part of its planned massive redevelopment at the I-85 and North Druid Hills Interchange.

A rendering of the finished Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta campus. (CHOA)

The Development Authority met in a special called meeting to approve the two agreements. The community investment agreement states:

  • On or before a land disturbance permit is issued for the construction of office buildings, CHOA will allocate an estimated $4 million for I-85 underpass improvements to accommodate additional lanes and a pedestrian pathway. The expectation is the the pedestrian path under I-85 will connect to the Peachtree Creek Greenway.
  • On or before the issuance of a land disturbance permit for the same office buildings, CHOA agrees to pay up to $200,000 of Brookhaven costs for construction and installation of sidewalks along the access road of I-85 from the underpass to Corporate Boulevard and along Corporate Boulevard.
  • On or before the issuance of a land disturbance permit for the $1.3 billion hospital towers, expected to be between 16 to 19 stories, CHOA agrees to fund the local match up to $10 million for modifications and upgrades to the North Druid Hills Road interchange at I-85. The city would otherwise be required to provide the local $10 million match as part of any federal and state funding. With CHOA agreeing to pick up that local match, the city will not be paying for the yet-to-be determined interchange improvements.
  • CHOA also agrees to pay $200,000 toward the interchange modification report for the North Druid Hills/I-85 interchange improvement.
  • And CHOA will pay another $100,000 toward the beautification of the North Druid Hills/I-85 interchange improvement.

Also as part of the community investment agreement, CHOA agrees to pay an estimated $6 million to provide sanitary sewer upgrades to the line that runs northward under I-85 from CHOA’s property and along Peachtree Creek before it builds its new hospital. The new sewer line will be upgraded from a 14-inch line to a 16-inch line. As part of the IGA between CHOA and Brookhaven, the city will also work to secure funding from DeKalb County for the sewer line improvements.

City Manager Christian Sigman told the development authority board members at the Dec. 6 meeting that CHOA approached the city in March 2017 about its plans for redevelopment of its North Druid Hills campus. Since that time, he said, the city and CHOA have negotiating an investment strategy.

“The community investment agreement is a significant investment by CHOA in the city cementing them as our largest employer” in the next four to five years, Sigman said.  “The city administration and mayor and city council are excited about these investments and believe they will set a model for future [partnerships], especially on Buford Highway and Executive Park.”

Sigman said CHOA’s agreement to pay the $10 million local match for the interchange upgrades is significant because the city could not afford to pay such a steep amount.

CHOA’s Chief Public Policy Officer David Tatum also addressed the development authority and said the pediatric hospital will be a large economic engine for the city as well as serve as a southern gateway to the city.

He noted that CHOA has a long clinical and academic history with Emory University, which purchased some 60 acres of Executive Park, located across the street from the CHOA campus. He said he does not know what Emory has planned for Executive Park but expects the two entities together will create a major medical center.

“We will attract higher quality businesses, hotels, restaurants … that all contribute to the local economy,” Tatum said. He added that unlike other large organizations approaching municipalities, CHOA is not asking for a tax abatement. “We’re contributing,” he said.

However, CHOA is a nonprofit organization and is exempt by federal law from having to pay property taxes.

One development authority board member asked about what impact the annexation on property into the city would have on the DeKalb County School System. Sigman said CHOA continues tot talk with the school system about the loss of revenue it would incur.

“Part of our commitment to our community is to serve as a catalyst for health and wellness, and this includes supporting shared priorities with Brookhaven, including improved transportation infrastructure, enhanced sewer access that will spur additional economic development, safe connections to the Peachtree Creek Greenway and pedestrian safety upgrades,” said Brian Brodrick, spokesperson for CHOA, in a statement. “The community investment agreement – which provides tens of millions of dollars in direct benefits to Brookhaven as well as the ability to leverage those funds for many millions more – is reflective of this commitment.”

CHOA unveiled Nov. 16 renderings and plans for its campus at the North Druids Hills Road and I-85 interchange that is slated to start early next year and be completed by 2026. The plans include a $1.3 billion hospital, the Center for Advanced Pediatrics now under construction, support buildings, parking decks and more than 20 acres of green space.

Before any dirt can be turned, though, CHOA must first receive the nod from the city of Brookhaven to annex and rezone nearly 20 acres along the I-85 Northeast Expressway to make way for an 8-story office building and 7-story parking deck. This “support” building will replace the office complex around Tullie Circle that will be torn down to make room for the new hospital.

The new hospital will replace CHOA’s Egleston Hospital on Clifton Road near Emory University. Hospital officials say Egleston is running out of bed space and is landlocked in an area where they say traffic is worse than the traffic at North Druid Hills and I-85 that spills onto arterial streets and into residential areas.

The Brookhaven Planning Commission will consider the rezoning of the annexed property along the I-85 access road, which now only allows for a 5-story building, at its Dec. 6 meeting at 7 p.m.. The City Council will consider the annexation and rezoning at its Dec. 12 meeting. Some variances are needed as well and will be considered by the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals on Dec. 20.

The plans also call for CHOA committing $40 million toward traffic improvements around the campus as it is built out over the next nine years, including funding going toward a redesign of the I-85 interchange.

Dyana Bagby

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

14 replies on “CHOA promises Brookhaven more than $20 million in infrastructure improvements”

  1. Interesting that GA Republicans use this as a talking point when rationalizing imminent domain “for the greater good” in the Buford Highway corridor, but they won’t support CHIP causing 8+ million American children to lose healthcare.


    1. What is imminent domain?

      What about those of us who cannot get health insurance because of Democrats’ healthcare policy? Government should not be involved in the healthcare business. Liberals are ruining this country with their arrogant social engineering policies!

      1. A typo from autocorrect. Surely you’ve heard of this phenomenon?

        The bigger question is why you think American children that can’t afford health insurance should be left to die.

  2. While millions of working adults of all ages – who don’t collect welfare – can no longer afford insurance due to Obamacare, premium costs skyrocketing Democrats know I what I’m talking about.

    My employer just announced premiums again rose double digits for 2014, a single employee will be $400 a month, married, $1150, married with children $1562. And, most of the employees in my company are young and younger adults. Did I mention the deductible is $6,000? It’s no typo, 3 digits after the 6 is correct, so do the math. Another employer, gave pretty generous raises to their employees last year. You know why? To help employees pay for sharply higher health insurance premiums.

    Oh, and my single adult child, insurance policy states his coverage includes pediatric dental. Only thing is, he has no children.

    The Democrats own it all to themselves the heavy damage they’ve inflicted on working class Americans in affording health care.

    1. You can complain about Obama all day, every day, but reasonable people that get their news from places beyond Fox News and Infowars know that Obama has nothing to do with the Buford Highway Corridor.

  3. Actually, Republicans are saying they’re defunding CHIP to pay for their tax “cuts”.

    Newt Gingrich and others say these poor kids need to be put to work, lol. (And I’m laughing to avoid crying.)

  4. I don’t believe I said I wanted children to die, nor do I believe that lack of healthcare leads directly to death. At least I hope not as us selfemployed do not have any available health insurance in metro ATL next year. This is a result of social engineering of healthcare, aka Obamacare.

    As far as CHIP is concerned, I would place the blame on 8 years of Obama policies which have lead to a 20 trillion dollar deficit. Hard to help others when you don’t have the resources. Aren’t you worried about this burden the Liberals are putting on these same children?

    Shame on people like you who advocate for more government and have left, not only children, but many others without access to healthcare coverage and our country bankrupt.

  5. Again, my initial post was about the proposed use of eminent domain the Buford Highway Corridor.

    This was very publicly proposed by GA Republicans in 2007, whereas Obama was not elected until 2008.

    If you truly believe Obama is behind the redevelopment of Buford Highway, you should probably consider taking a break from watching Infowars.

    This nonsense that Obama is to blame for the need to use eminent domain in the corridor is about as rational as Southern GOP members and officials saying Obama’s “deep state” is responsible for the “takedown” of Roy Moore.

    Roy Moore was banned from a mall AND the YMCA in the 1980’s for sexually preying on underage girls; I’m pretty sure that in the 1980’s Obama was either in college or in Chicago smoking pot.

  6. Gebbia is not a Democrat, but for sure the rest are complicit. In case you weren’t aware, Deal and other state republicans are involved in the Buford Highway redevelopment (NOT Obama)

    Ernst should be ashamed of himself- saying that if he doesn’t get onboard then someone else will. That’s what criminals say.

    1. Do you deny that Deal has promoted the government redevelopment of Buford Highway?

      Or are you calling me “loony tunes” because you don’t think Deal is a true Republican for striking down GA GOP’s anti-gay law?

  7. “Looney Tunes” is saying the government has to redevelop Buford Highway because of Obama.

    Any rational people regardless of party know that’s not what’s going on here.

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