For too long, great development projects have elevated some Atlanta communities while leaving others behind.
Upon becoming Mayor of our great city, I set forth a vision of One Atlanta – an Atlanta that grows, thrives, and prospers together. The proposed Gulch deal takes us one gigantic leap closer to achieving that goal.
The deal that has been put before City Council this week will transform what is now a gigantic hole in the ground into a sprawling destination for all Atlantans to enjoy.
It also represents one of the most significant investments in equity, affordability and quality infrastructure for the entire city in modern history.
The developer has committed to a goal of having nearly 40 percent of all Gulch development work performed by minority- and/or female-owned businesses.
That target is significantly higher than our current citywide standard and places an unprecedented priority on work that is done from and for members of all of Atlanta’s communities.
The developer will also offer one or more minority- and female-owned businesses an opportunity to acquire 10 percent ownership of this multi-billion dollar project, a figure that promises real collaboration and partnership.
In addition to no out-of-pocket dollars from taxpayers, the long-lasting benefits of the proposed Gulch deal include:
- Up to $1 billion in incentives offered by the State of Georgia;
- A $28 million Affordable Housing Trust Fund- the largest in the history of the city;
- A minimum of 200 affordable housing units in the Gulch itself, or up to 30 percent of the total built, whichever is greater;
- Potential for the creation of 1,500-1,800 new construction jobs annually;
- Up to 35,000 permanent jobs;
- A $12 million investment in an economic-development fund, which will be dispersed equitably across the city based on need;
- $2 million for a workforce development plan that will benefit Atlanta Public Schools.
While we have much to gain from the development of the Gulch, it costs us nothing, as we will reap these benefits without the use of any current City funds.
Further, there is an additional $125 million that the developer will contribute to the English Avenue/Vine City area empowerment zone. Altogether, that amounts to a nearly $185 million investment in the public good.
Since I was a young girl, the Gulch has been an empty eyesore in Atlanta, generating no tangible value to the city — no sales taxes, no revenue, no enterprise, and perhaps most importantly, no community or social good.
The new Gulch proposal includes all of these things and so much more, but those promises are only realized if we seize this moment and dare to write our future.
The Gulch, much like Atlanta, is rich with potential, but if we do nothing, we will continue to get nothing.
We have never been a city that sits around waiting for things to happen. We have always been intentional about where we want to go.
We take the road less traveled.
We embark upon the unprecedented, and we let the fruit of our audacity speak for itself.
I am enthusiastically supporting the Gulch proposal because it represents the kind of big, bold innovation that has made Atlanta great.
I encourage you to learn more about the great incentives the proposed Gulch deal has to offer by visiting www.atlantaga.gov/greenlightthegulch
You can also call your Councilmember to let him/her know that we are ready for the Atlanta renaissance to reverberate through all parts of our city.
We are ready for a more accessible, equitable, affordable Atlanta.
We are ready to green-light the Gulch!