Lacking votes, Atlanta’s $5 billion Gulch project delayed

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Monday said she would not push the City Council to vote on her proposal to provide up to $1.75 billion in public financing to help redevelop downtown’s Gulch.

The Gulch is crisscrossed by freight and MARTA rail lines and sits 40 feet below street level, making it a daunting site for potential developers.

But California’s CIM Group has proposed building a $5 billion project over the rail lines and parking lots between the Five Points MARTA station and Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The development has been pitched as a possible home for Amazon’s second headquarters, but city council members questioned whether the public would benefit enough for taxpayers to give up nearly $2 billion in incentives.

Hours before the city council’s Monday meeting, it had become apparent that Bottoms likely didn’t have enough votes to pass the incentive package.

“For the past several months, members of my Administration have been working to finalize a deal to redevelop the Gulch area in downtown Atlanta,” Bottoms said in a statement. “We have negotiated an unprecedented deal that will transform a 40-acre hole in the ground and make tens of millions in significant investments in other parts of our city related to affordability, equity, and opportunity. We recognize and respect that members of Council, and the public, need more time to understand the largest development deal in our city’s history.”