Emory no longer required to build 2 pedestrian bridges

The city of Brookhaven on Tuesday approved Emory University’s plans to build a $1 billion research and medical complex at Executive Park.

The massive campus, called “Emory at Executive Park,” will be built over the next 15 to 20 years as a “health innovation district.”

In approving the rezoning for the 60 acres of land, the city scrapped the condition that Emory construct pedestrian bridges over I-85 and North Druid Hills Road. Brookhaven plans to fund construction of the bridges using property tax revenue from the Emory complex.

The university plans to develop about 3 million square feet that will include a 140-bed hospital, clinical buildings, medical offices, administrative offices, a 200-room hotel and multifamily apartments. Construction for some buildings on the property, including a musculoskeletal research facility, is already underway.

Emory plans to also build a 1½ miles of sidewalks and half a mile of trails going through park space in the center of the campus.

The latest renderings of what the development could look like.
Photo: City of Brookhaven

“Our investment provides stability and value to Brookhaven,” Sara Lu, Emory’s assistant vice president for real estate, told the City Council.

The city previously proposed that Emory build pedestrian bridges over I-85 and North Druid Hills as a condition for the rezoning. But Emory pushed back on that idea. After months of negotiations, Brookhaven decided to remove that condition.

The city and Emory have agreed 825,000 square feet of the development will remain as taxable property. The city said the property could otherwise potentially be nontaxable, since the university is a nonprofit.

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The cost and timeline for construction of the bridges, which could connect with the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta campus on North Druid Hills and the Peachtree Creek Greenway on the other side of I-85, have not been released.

Earlier this month, the city planning commission requested more specific information about the what the Emory development would look like and asked the City Council to send it back for further consideration. City staff said Emory had addressed those requests and recommended that the Council approve the rezoning.

“Our partnership with Emory University allows us to accelerate several key projects of vital importance to Brookhaven, while growing one of our largest employers,” Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst said in a statement. “Emory’s campus is going to change our community in a positive way, while maintaining stability and value to the Brookhaven community through health care and innovation.”

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