Duluth amends Buford Highway TAD boundaries

DULUTH -- The Duluth City Council on Monday amended boundaries of the proposed Buford Highway Corridor Tax Allocation District.

The city has proposed creating the TAD to facilitate redevelopment of aging commercial properties along the highway.

Duluth Economic Development Manager Chris McGahee explained that the amendment reflects changes requested by Gwinnett County and removes tax parcels bordering and including the Town Green, City Hall and Duluth Cemetery that the county considers already redeveloped. It also eliminates two parcels near City Hall containing the Mathias/Streets Smarts complex and developer Dan Woodley's property.

The council had approved the original TAD boundaries in December.

The proposed TAD stretches along Buford Highway from North Berkeley Lake Road to Old Peachtree Road

Ken Bleakly, president of Sandy Springs-based Bleakly Advisory Group, a consulting firm hired by the city to assist in establishing its first TAD, reported that the amendment removes 24 small parcels from the TAD and reduces the total base value of the TAD from 68.5 million to 60.5 million.

If approved by the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners and the Gwinnett County Board of Education, the process establishing the Buford Highway Corridor TAD is expected to be completed by July, according to Bleakly.

The city, county and school system would continue to receive tax revenue based on "frozen" 2009 assessed property values in the TAD for a designated time period. Tax revenue generated by increases in property values would be used to fund infrastructure improvements to encourage redevelopment along Buford Highway.

Based on the new county millage rate, the TAD would generate $20 million in revenue instead of the $18.9 million originally projected, Bleakly said.

Duluth voters approved a referendum in November 2007 authorizing the city to form TADs.