As Northlake Mall sits primed for a large-scale redevelopment, the Texas-based company that owns most of the property has asked for it to be annexed into the city of Tucker.
If approved by the City Council as early as next month, the annexation would represent a major boost for the city, which is just three years old. Tucker has a zero millage rate, so residents do not pay property taxes to the city. Instead, Tucker makes the bulk of its revenue from business licenses and fees, so a mall full of stores and restaurants is a significant gain.
Northlake currently sits in unincorporated DeKalb County, just outside of Tucker city limits.
ATR Corinth Partners, which owns the entire mall except for one parcel occupied by Macy’s, presented Tucker city officials with an annexation petition Monday night, records show.
In a statement, Tucker Mayor Frank Auman heralded the possible new business for the city.
“It’s a huge success in fulfilling the promises of Tucker,” Auman said. “We envisioned things a long time ago for what Tucker could be and what we should be. This is a validation of what we’ve done thus far and how we’ve conducted ourselves.”
Tony Ruggeri, a partner at Dallas-based ATR, said the mall already contributes to the Tucker-Northlake Community Improvement District, so being part of the city allows for more collaboration. Tucker, for example, has a Downtown Development Authority that could work with the mall on a redevelopment project.
“It was also somewhat natural because a lot of the surrounding commercial projects in the Northlake area are already part of the city,” Ruggeri said in an interview.
He said property taxes paid to DeKalb County would not change. Tucker also uses DeKalb police, water and sewer services, although the police department has a specified “Tucker Precinct.”
The mall was originally included in Tucker’s proposed cityhood map in 2014, but it was removed by legislators before the 2016 referendum that made Tucker a city.
ATR bought the suburban shopping center at the intersection of Briarcliff and Lavista roads in early 2016. While full plans have not been announced, Ruggeri said the firm is leaning toward redeveloping the mall into a mixed-use property, starting in the next year or two.
» READ MORE: Northlake Mall sold, redevelopment possible
Auman said the annexation request “puts to bed the notion that there’s no development in DeKalb County. The fact is, there have been hundreds of development projects in DeKalb in recent years and this redevelopment will be a jewel in the crown.”
The mall is ATR’s first Atlanta-area property, but the company has experience updating and refurbishing old malls and bringing new business in. Ruggeri said the firm bought part of the nearly 1 million-square-foot mall because of population growth in the Northlake area.
“This is one of the part of the city that has not been fully tapped up until this point,” he said, adding that Northlake could “act as a catalyst for a lot more development in the area over time.”
If approved by City Council, the annexation would take place June 1.
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