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For decades, local development authorities and state economic officials have handed out hundreds of millions of dollars to help build high-rises, subsidize warehouses, and woo out-of-state businesses. Why should private companies and well-financed property developers get a cut of public funds?
When the Emory Proton Therapy Center opened its doors on Thursday, it was already a symbol of triumph over challenges. The center—which provides proton therapy to treat cancer and is especially beneficial for treating tumors of the lungs, back and spine, and head and neck—is the first and only facility of its kind in the state. There are 29 other such centers in the United States and another 23 under construction or in planning stages. With five treatment rooms, Emory’s center is among the largest.
The former home of the Atlanta Constitution could get a much-needed renovation and become part of an office and residential redevelopment, according to a proposal Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development agency, is negotiating with developers.
While the overall metro area has remained affordable—in the third quarter of 2015, the $178,900 median sales price for a single-family home was lower than all but three of the nation’s 20 largest metros—the cost of housing in much of intown Atlanta has skyrocketed.
For more than half a century, the Atlanta Braves have rented a prime chunk of property just south of Downtown. To accommodate this prized tenant, city and county officials have demolished entire blocks, proffered tax breaks, rerouted roads, and constructed not one but two massive stadiums. It’s not been enough. Today the Braves announced they will leave Atlanta proper – and move twelve miles up the freeway to Cobb County, hosting opening day 2017 in a brand new ballpark.
The story of Turner Field and its neighbors is one of stunted vision, cynical opportunism, halfhearted reform efforts, and misguided renewal schemes. Millions of dollars have been squandered and hundreds of acres left vacant. Around here, thousands of people live below the poverty line while just a handful—some legally, some not—cash in, because it’s more lucrative to park cars on an empty lot eighty-one days a year than to clean up that lot, open a business, and operate it year-round.
Well, you can’t really top news about a $1 billion stadium with a fancy roof, but there was another big-money announcement about a Downtown project yesterday. The National Center for Civil and Human Rights got $24 million in funding thanks to a creative deal put together by Invest Atlanta and PNC bank.