Sembler Asks DeKalb County For $52 Million In Tax Incentives

Sembler asked DeKalb County for $52 million in tax incentives to finish its 54-acre mixed-use development near the Brookhaven MARTA station.

A couple of buildings are up, but last week, [Sembler President Jeff] Fuqua said nothing else will rise on the site unless taxpayers subsidize the project. He showed officials an aerial photograph of the site. They saw two mid-rise residential towers surrounded by dirt.

The tax incentive proposal will meet with skeptical politicans and again face neighborhood opposition.

DeKalb’s top elected official, Burrell Ellis, is worried about the precedent of giving such a generous handout. At the same time, he fears getting stuck with a raw construction site.

“I think there is some benefit to the county of seeing this project completed,” said Ellis, DeKalb’s chief executive officer. But, he said, other developers are in trouble, so a tax break like this “could have broader implications than this one project.”

Bill Draper, a longtime critic of Sembler, said neighbors would like to see the project completed so they could shop in the stores and dine at the restaurants.

“We want to see it finished, but we don’t want to have to pay to see it finished,” said Draper, who is a board member of the Brookhaven-Peachtree Community Alliance.

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