A birds-eye view of The Gulch project, which sits adjacent to State Farm Arena and Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Courtesy CIM Group)

The Atlanta Board of Education has approved an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the City of Atlanta paving the way for The Gulch, the massive mixed-use development in Downtown.

Atlanta Public Schools (APS) had gone to court to block the city’s move to use school taxes for the $5 billion project, which will be developed by CIM Group. According to a statement released by the board of education,  the agreement reduces APS’ exposure in the Gulch from $1.56 billion to $1.38 billion, distributes the impact of the APS increment more evenly over the lives of the Tax Allocation Districts (TADS), limits exposure of the APS tax digest to be no more than 10 percent of collectable digest in any given year (based on current assumptions) and relieves immediate pressure on the APS budget.

The agreement also provides a net gain of between $130 million and $180 million to APS over the life of the TADs.

The Atlanta City Council approved the IGA on Monday afternoon during its first meeting of the year.

In a media statement, Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said: “I want to thank members of the Atlanta Board of Education for their unanimous vote in passing today’s IGA and resolution with the City of Atlanta, providing APS with a more predictable, manageable and sustainable way of contributing to and supporting economic development in the City, while balancing the interests of our 52,000 students, 6,000 employees and 158,000 taxpayers. In addition, this agreement caps our financial contributions in future TADs and sparks economic development in four TADs on the Southside, where so many of our students and employees live.”

After the city council and school board voted, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms released her own media statement:  “Today’s agreement brings the City to the final stages of what truly represents public-private innovation at its finest, revolutionizing economic development in Atlanta for generations to come. The passage of the APS Intergovernmental Agreement will elevate Atlanta’s schools, ensure more equitable development across the city and kickstart the transformation of the Gulch—one of the most significant redevelopment projects in the history of Atlanta. Thank you to the many members of our Administration and stakeholders who helped bring this deal to fruition. This is a remarkable day, as we take a historic step towards continuing our city’s progress, leaving no community behind.”

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.