A $19 million tax break for a portion of the massive High Street mixed-use development in Perimeter Center is being considered by Dunwoody officials as it appears the project may actually soon break ground.

In this illustration of phase one of High Street, the 211 Perimeter Center Parkway building is the tallest one toward the center of the picture. The apartment buildings are the two square-shaped buildings with open areas in the middle. The white structure in the center is a parking deck with a luxury movie theater sitting on top. (High Street)

The entire $2 billion High Street project that has been stalled for more than a decade would be built on 42 acres of property at the northwest intersection of Perimeter Center Parkway and Hammond Drive, near the Sandy Springs border and the Dunwoody MARTA station. The mini-city would span 10 city blocks and include 8 million square feet of residential, retail, restaurant, hotel and office space.

James Linsley, president of GID Development Group, master developer of High Street, told the Dunwoody Development Authority at its Nov. 14 meeting plans are to break ground by next spring on the first phase where the 211 Perimeter Center Parkway office building is located. A land disturbance permit was submitted in August and is still being reviewed.

This illustration is a view of the High Street central park area with the movie theater at the left and the residential buildings toward the back. The taller towers in white would be part of future phases of the project. (High Street)

The first phase encompasses about 17 acres and is expected to cost about $230 million. This portion of High Street would include 598 apartments in two residential buildings; 199,000 square feet of retail including a luxury movie theater; 40,000 square feet of new office space; 2,279 parking spaces; and about a ¾-acre public green space in the central area where GID envisions community events such as concerts or yoga in the park.

Linsley said constructing the first phase with the public area would “create a sense of place” and be a catalyst for the future phases. Completing this piece of High Street could take about 30 months, he said.

DDA members expressed excitement about the project and voted at the meeting to begin negotiations with GID to issue $230 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds to finance the first phase. The deal would not put the city on the hook for any debt and allows GID to offer tax-exempt bonds due to the DDA’s nonprofit status, officials say.

Another illustration of the first phase of High Street with the 211 Perimeter Center Parkway building in the background. (High Street)

The DDA also voted to begin negotiations to provide High Street a $19 million tax abatement over 10 years that GID said is needed to make the project financially feasible. A final vote to approve the bond issuance and tax abatement is set for January.

“We are deep into our construction documents … and this would allow us to enter into financing documents,” said GID Senior Vice President of Development Jeff Lowenberg. “We are headed into a tough financial environment.”

Dunwoody Economic Development Director Michael Starling explained that if High Street was assessed at its entire $230 million value, property taxes for the city, county and school district would be about $43 million over 10 years.

The DDA is set to give High Street a 45% tax abatement over 10 years, Starling said. Doing so results in High Street paying just $24 million in property taxes over 10 years, for a tax break of roughly $19 million. The abatement would go into effect a year after the certificate of occupancy is issued.

The apartments are not included in the value of the abatement, Starling said.

GID teamed up with North American Properties a year ago to develop High Street. NAP was behind Avalon in Alpharetta, a 1.1 million square-foot mixed-use development. Other NAP projects in metro Atlanta include Atlantic Station and Colony Square in Midtown.

DeKalb County approved the High Street project in 2007, a year before Dunwoody became a city.

This High Street illustration includes ghost-like sketches of where future buildings would go as part of the second and third phases of the mixed-use development. (High Street)
An illustrated view of High Street with the completed first phase at the bottom of the picture and future phases toward the top with the State Farm towers in the background. (High Street)

This story has been updated to correct the tax abatement is 45% over 10 years, not 35%.