Fulton board approves tax break for new downtown Atlanta hotel

Developer says it will transform ‘undeveloped eyesore’ into Moxy by Marriott hotel
This is a rendering of a proposed Moxy by Marriott Downtown Atlanta/Centennial Park hotel along Marietta Street.

Credit: Courtesy Nexera Capital

Credit: Courtesy Nexera Capital

This is a rendering of a proposed Moxy by Marriott Downtown Atlanta/Centennial Park hotel along Marietta Street.

A Fulton County agency approved Friday a $2.6 million tax break for a new hotel development in downtown Atlanta near Centennial Olympic Park.

The Development Authority of Fulton County (DAFC) board voted 5-2 during a special-called meeting to approve the tax savings for the $54 million project at 329 Marietta Street. Atlanta-based Nexera Capital plans to build an 183-room Moxy by Marriott hotel, becoming the city’s second hotel under that brand.

Credit: Google Maps

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Credit: Google Maps

Nexera executive Sam Patel told the authority that the downtown hotel would replace an “undeveloped eyesore,” a vacant building that used to house an orthotics and prosthetics company. The hotel project started in 2017 and was derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic three years later, his business partner Bobby Patel said.

“If this (incentive) doesn’t kind of go through, it’s going to be really hard for us to move forward with this project,” Bobby Patel said. “We’re talking to lenders right now, and it’s really tough.”

Friday’s vote was the first tax break DAFC granted since January, when its board voted to provide $10 million in tax savings to the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, for equipment installation that was already taking place at a Fulton data center. The tax break faced stark community opposition, while the hotel’s request did not receive any public comments.

The latest tax break was also DAFC’s first since the Fulton County Board of Assessors resumed its under-the-radar role in providing tax savings to businesses and developers. The board of assessors paused its piece of these complicated deals for months under the threat of a lawsuit. In April, the board of assessors approved multiple appraisal requests by DAFC, allowing affiliated projects to receive their tax savings.

The 10-story Moxy hotel plans include a full-service restaurant, a taco spot, a hidden speakeasy and a rooftop lounge. It will employ 65 workers and generate $6.7 million in new tax revenues during the next decade despite the abatement, according to DAFC estimates. The developer previously told media outlets that it aims to open the hotel in time for the 2026 World Cup, which includes Atlanta as a host city.

Emerge’s executives said the incentive was needed to offset increased construction costs and help pay for infrastructure upgrades, including utility relocations and the paving of Latimer Street. DAFC, also known as Develop Fulton, has faced intense scrutiny in recent years for granting incentives that critics contend are not needed.

DAFC Chairman Brandon Beach, vice chair Kwanza Hall, secretary Kyle Lamont and board members Erica Long and Alvin Kendall voted to approve the hotel’s tax break, while treasurer Mike Bodker and Mike Looney voted against it. Pinky Cole and Laura Kurlander-Nagel were absent.