I threw away my Tea Party issued tin foil hat a couple times, but always seem to get another one. One thing the Tea Party nails it on is the Agenda 21 and the goal to build TODs in our major cities.
Once a week or so Real Estate Bisnow (ATL) sends out an email concerning real estate happenings in Atlanta. Today's email blast talks about Charles Pursley. You can go elsewhere and read about Charles, but it seems he is a smart and successful guy. Charles thinks MARTA will be forcing itself on the fine residents of Sandy Springs by confiscating land (eminent domain, Charles' specialty) to force the building of at least one TOD in Sandy Springs.
Sandy Springs has not found a shiny new development it doesn't like. The Sandy Springs council seems to let people build any sort of thing they want, as long as they pay taxes. Does Sandy Springs have no sense of history and not realize these shiny apartments built in 2013 will be slums by 2033? Apparently not. I doubt MARTA would even need eminent domain in Sandy Springs, unless it is a land owner stopping the TOD.
So back to the email blast:
Charles was instrumental in the creation of the modern MARTA system. After a stint in the Army and Vietnam as a judge advocate, Charles came to Georgia and joined the late firm Huie Brown & Ide and was tasked with helping MARTA condemn property to develop the system, including the property that eventually became the Five Points Station (above during its 1978 construction, you were probably at the disco when this pic was snapped) and the Peachtree Center Station. Charles says MARTA's current transit-oriented development plans—where it's getting input from developers to create mixed-use projects at various stations—has a dual purpose. "Ridership is a big part of that, and revenue is a big part of that," he tells us.
Now that development is picking up again in Georgia, Charles expects some real cases to come before the court. There are "potentially huge condemnation cases" coming regarding developments in the Sandy Springs area.
When you sign on MARTA and/or HUD as a partner for a TOD you (the city, developer, etc.) will receive Federal dollars, tax credits, grants, low interest loans, etc. And what do you give up in exchange? You give up any chance of the project being a short term or long term success. You give up creating a quality place to live, work, and play. That's not such a bad deal, is it?
By converting what is normally a private, for-profit venture project to a Government subsidized project you (the developer) will be required to set aside a percentage of the housing units for "work force" housing. 'Work force' housing sounds great, right? Ask the folks at Atlantic Station how that work force housing deal played out. Work Force Housing is actually a step below Section 8 Housing.
Cobb and Gwinnett took lots of criticism for keeping the heavy and light rail out of their counties. Now these counties cannot take advantage of having MARTA and HUD building 'work force' housing developments attached to rail lines.
Dunwoody has a MARTA stop. This land is now owned/zoned to be a development called High Street. Although High Street has 1,500 apartments and 1,500 condos, the property owner will be able to rent/sell these units to the highest bidders at market rates, not to whom MARTA says to rent/sell them to. Although not a huge fan of the 1,500 apartments approved for Dunwoody at High Street project (before we became a city), at least these will be rented on the open market. There are thousands of apartments already approved for Dunwoody (approved prior to us becoming a city), and we don't need MARTA setting the monthly rates. See HERE for details.
There are two MARTA stops in Sandy Springs. One is in Brookhaven by the hospitals. The Sandy Springs stations are: one by the movie theaters and Sports Authority, and one on Peachtree Dunwoody Road. Don't be surprised when the city council and mayor of Sandy Springs sign up for millions of tainted Federal dollars and tax credits for developers. By the time HUD and MARTA get through with the handouts the developer will make millions more and Sandy Springs will get some road money. Long term this TOD is a big loser for homeowners in Sandy Springs. Even in the short term there is no upside. MARTA has used eminent domain in the past and will use it in the future.