Growth in Northwest Georgia on the Way

Several small pockets of growth point to what appears to be an effort to spur larger development across north Georgia.  The North Rome Community Action Committee has been pushing for growth for almost a decade, and a move of the recycling center which was located off Calhoun Avenue, has brought about a renewed interest in the area.

Crestwood subdivision as well as several other pending developments marked proof of the viability of North Rome and now, several other yet unannounced projects may begin to move forward – if indeed, a long-awaited tax allocation district is created in the corridor.  Under a TAD, some property tax increases due to improvements can be funneled back into a project to help offset the cost.

Several sites, like the 7-acre former O’Neill Manufacturing plant off Anderson Street, cannot be developed without significant mitigation of environmental hazards – small patches of growth are appearing however, as it comes back to life, and it looks like there’s more to come.

In the works

One large housing development, the Crestwood subdivision, is already in the works off the North Broad Extension and another was just greenlighted by the Rome City Commission this week.

Work on the Crestwood subdivision has continued to progress and, on the other side of the nearby North Pointe subdivision, KC Homes was granted its rezoning request for a 325-apartment complex.

That amount of growth along the two-lane North Broad Extension has caused some concern. Residents have pleaded with the city to fix the road before the increased traffic causes significant problems. In a City Commission meeting this week, Rich said the city has $750,000 budgeted for the road work and “it’s on the list.”

KC Homes also received approval of its plans to demolish the vacant North Broad Youth Center building, 1148 N. Broad St., and replace it with 24 rental townhomes with an additional 12 units to come later.

Walt Busby with KC Homes said he expects demolition of the center to begin in February, with construction to follow later this year.

Now add the recent sale of Five Points Plaza, home to Ru San’s and several other businesses. Larry Cagle of Hardy Realty represented Neema Patel, who bought the property. Cagle says Patel plans to bring a grocery to the former Troy’s barbecue location.

Another developer has recently added two new houses as well. WRC Homes constructed homes at 205 Callahan St. and 105 Forsyth St. near Eagle Park.

Add a few other items, like the opening of the United Way Resource and Volunteer Center on North Broad Street, and things appear to be on the way up in North Rome.

Up next…TAD

The potential for the area to be named as a tax allocation district, essentially offering incremental rebates to developers, may spur even larger growth.

Those rebates are a financial encouragement for developers to buy back in to blighted communities and, Love said, are the best use of the measure.

The incremental savings would be the difference between the property tax revenue generated before the project and the amount generated after the property is developed or redeveloped.

When a TAD is created, the Georgia Department of Revenue sets the base value for the district. Any growth in the property tax revenue resulting from increases in property value above the base value is collected in a special fund and used for redevelopment costs solely within the TAD.

And only property taxes generated by the incremental increase in the values of these properties are available for use by developers.

Several developers have already announced projects, but have not yet moved forward.

Love suspects it’s because they’re waiting on the tax incentives.

Among those already given the greenlight by the city are The Varsity on Spider Webb Drive and a three-story, 36-unit apartment building at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Gibbons Street.

Another project in the area, potentially next to The Varsity, is a hotel, although no site plans had been filed as of this week.

(Rome News Tribune)


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