The city of Doraville has proposed a redevelopment plan in hopes of curbing economic blight and encouraging businesses to relocate to the city.
Luke Howe, a spokesman for Doraville Mayor Donna Pittman, said the city has proposed two drafts of the plan, which if approved could offer larger tax incentives to businesses looking to start or relocate in the area.
“The city is trying to bring in more business, and this is what we have to do to make that come to fruition,” Howe said.
Doraville officials will host a town hall meeting July 26 to discuss the details of the proposed drafts. Howe said the two drafts are similar, but one is broader than the other. Both are available on the city’s website.
Additionally, city officials are trying to create incentives for those who might be interested in purchasing or redeveloping the old General Motors Assembly Plant property, which was closed by the company in 2008 as a cost-cutting measure and has remained vacant.
After its closing, several proposals were made to use the 165-acre property–everything from building a new stadium to host the Super Bowl to a multiuse cityscape facility much like Atlantic Station. However, each proposal for the $60 million property still owned by GM has fallen through.
Howe said each plan strives to have the areas involved in the redevelopment designated “opportunity zones,” which allow for greater tax incentives. Howe said many cities such as Alpharetta, Sandy Springs and Marietta have received opportunity zone designations, but Doraville would be the first city in DeKalb County to receive one if it’s approved.
“It’s a matter of survival and market competition nowadays,” Howe said.
According to the proposal, the state’s opportunity zone legislation was adopted in 2004 as part of the Urban Redevelopment Act. For areas that meet the criteria, it provides the state’s maximum job tax credit of $3,500 for every job created. This means any new business that locates to an opportunity zone or any existing business that expands can qualify for the credit provided it creates or adds a minimum of two jobs.
To be approved as an opportunity zone, the proposed redevelopment area must be within or adjacent to a census tract that is 15 percent of the poverty level or greater. Howe said in both drafts, the areas outlined meet this mandate.
“Ninty percent of the communities who pass a redevelopment plan do so for the opportunity zone tax incentives,” Howe said. “The opportunity zone tax credit is much more conducive to cultivating small business, and that’s what we need to do until something starts happening with the GM property.”
One of the drafts proposed an urban redevelopment area that only includes the former GM plant and the adjacent former Seaboard Oil property. Howe said the other draft proposes a much broader urban redevelopment area, which includes most all commercial and multifamily and apartment areas within the city.
“At the very least we need to include the GM plant and the adjacent property because the market forces aren’t going to deal with these properties,” Howe said. “It’s a good thing, and I hope it will be received well, especially the broader plan.”