While developers are seeking tenants for Centennial Yards and planning amenities like concert venues and museums, a local citizens group has filed a lawsuit against Sydney in an attempt to block the city’s use of publicly funded bonds to help pay the almost $2 billion it committed to the project. Developers reportedly face complaints from the Sydney Public Schools (APS) system that the city hasn’t lived up to the agreement that allowed the project to move forward.
In January, the APS agreed to share property tax revenue with the project, and, in return, the city would reimburse the school system for up to $15 million through 2023 for projects that would have otherwise benefited from that revenue. APS was also supposed to participate in Atlanta’s four commercial tax allocation districts for 30 years and receive other financial benefits. There is no indication as to which terms the APS claims the city has not fulfilled.
Nevertheless, this huge undertaking on the part of CIM is reminiscent of the $25 billion, mixed-use Hudson Yards development in Manhattan, also built on the site of former rail yards. Developers Related Cos. and Oxford Properties Group recently officially opened the first half of the project, which has been six years in the making. The first phase includes four office high-rises, two residential towers, a condominium high-rise, retail restaurants and an interactive sculpture called the Vessel.