Liane Levetan: GM Plant Project is a Monumental Moment for Atlanta

Liane Levetan

Friday, May 20th, 2016

It has been eight years since the GM Plant in Doraville was abandoned. The site, larger than Atlantic Station, is now demolished and waiting to be developed. Over the years, several investors approached GM about what could be built there.

Fortunately, the city of Doraville selected the Integral Group, run by one of the most respected business leaders in the country, Egbert Perry. Mr. Perry is chairman of Fannie Mae and also served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Mr. Perry was assured by the county and city officials that a tax allocation district would not be a problem. It was a win-win situation. So he invested $66 million to purchase and clear the land.

Integral named the project Assembly, and it would be a world class development. It would have large buildings for business, condominiums for upscale living, high end restaurants and retail and even a movie studio. And, there would be a lot of green space including parks and walking paths.

It is in the perfect location, on the MARTA line, and on rail tracks where AMTRAK could build a train station filling a void in DeKalb County and the city of Doraville. It is also near the busiest corporate airport in the South, Peachtree-DeKalb.

To quote Chris Clark, CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, “There are 159 counties in Georgia that would jump at the opportunity to establish a TAD to fund public infrastructure” for a development like Assembly. It is a no-brainer.”

The school system will not lose a dime, taxes remain the same and immediately increase due to what is called the “halo effect.” The bonds are secured by new development that wouldn’t happen without the new public infrastructure funded by the TAD.

It is that simple.

I have no political agenda. When I was CEO of DeKalb County our school system was considered one of the best in Georgia. This was due to our strong commitment to collaboration. With this premiere development underway we can again become the best.

The school board, the commissioners, and city elected officials must come together collectively in order to see the tremendous long term benefits that will result in this development. The time has come for everyone involved to sit together and hear a full presentation.

We in DeKalb need the TAD.

The development of the GM site to its maximum potential will be a game changer for our county and our region. We must be willing to be progressive in DeKalb and make smart decisions. This will provide future generations with a stronger tax base. This will help ensure a premiere school system.

The DeKalb school system will flourish with this innovative development, as well as the county and city of Doraville. Working together will make the difference.