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Atlanta Closes On $5 Billion Centennial Yards Redevelopment Agreement

ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) -- Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Atlanta is now ready to move forward with the Centennial Yards project, a $5 billion mixed-use development expected to create historic community investments.

Bottoms says they closed on the deal after signing agreements and hammering out the details with Los Angeles-based real estate developer CIM Group. "This has been a long time in the making," she said. "We are building and commencing an effort to build an extraordinary project. It's truly one of a kind on a national basis," said Richard Ressler, the founder and principal of CIM Group. "It said to other developers that it's good to develop quality development in Southwest Atlanta," said District 4 Atlanta City Councilwoman Cleta Winslow.

They're redeveloping 50 acres formerly known as The Gulch, transforming the underground parking lots into retail, commercial and entertainment spaces. "The agreement will deliver $28 million for an affordable housing trust fund," said Bottoms. The project designates 20% of the residential units at Centennial Yards South as affordable. "We are investing $12 million dollars in economic development," Bottoms said, adding there's a 38% inclusion goal for minority and female-owned businesses. Two million dollars will go toward workforce training. Bottoms also announced a child savings account program providing kids a one-time seed deposit to open a bank account. The estimated affordable housing, economic development and workforce training investments total $42 million.

National Association of Minority Contractors Atlanta Chapter President Ernest Ellis described the development plans as significant. "It's going to create equity and inclusion opportunities for the first companies to the tune of about $2 billion," Ellis said. The city previously agreed to pay the developer nearly $2 billion in incentives. Opponents have said it would take tax revenue dollars away from schools and other agencies. Supporters argue the dividends will pay off in the long run.

During the press conference, Centennial Yards presented the city with a check for $33.5 million toward the project.

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