The CID, which was approved by the City Council in May, includes 53 commercial properties in a total area of 0.84 square miles along Franklin Road.
A CID is formed when the majority of the commercial property owners in an area agree to tax themselves at a higher rate, up to 5 additional mills. Those tax dollars are leveraged to secure larger state and federal sums, which in turn are used to pay for area infrastructure improvements.
Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin attended the meeting to show the city’s support for the new district, the third one to be created in Cobb County.
“This is exciting. A year ago this would have been laughable,” Tumlin said.
The board was elected in quick fashion, with each member voted in by the other nominated board members. Only property owners or their representatives can be a member of the board or vote to elect members of the board.
Tom Flanigan, a senior vice president at Clarion Partners, an asset investment company based in Houston, was named as the first member of the board of seven by the City Council at its June 11 meeting.
Clarion Partners owns six buildings on 220,000 square feet inside Kingston Court and four buildings on 150,000 square feet inside Franklin Oaks, which are both office building parks on Franklin Road.
Flanigan, who has experience serving on the boards of two other CIDs in the metro-Atlanta area, including the South Fulton CID and the Boulevard Improvement District, said he is excited to share in the city’s efforts inside the district along Franklin Road.
“I think what’s exciting about this CID is that the city has already put so many efforts into our area,” Flanigan said.
Board members elected Nathan Tramik to one of the seven seats, although Tramik was not in attendance.
Beth Sessoms, the city’s economic development manager, presented some projects inside the CID the city has already started work on. The city bought the Woodlands Park apartment complex for $8 million and the Flagstone Village complex for $12 million, and it intends to raze the buildings and sell the land for commercial use by the end of the year, Sessoms said.
The city also plans to use money from the $68 million redevelopment bond issuance voters passed to redesign parts of Franklin Road, but it is still planning the road improvements, Sessoms said.
At the meeting, Sessoms suggested the board expand the CID’s boundaries to include the campuses of Southern Polytechnic State and Life University by Cobb Parkway.
“I really hope that you would expand to Cobb Parkway, because there are a lot of students over there that have nowhere to eat and nowhere to shop,” Sessoms said.
Board members agreed they wanted to focus on supporting economic growth in the area as their first goal.
“This could be a huge employment center for the city of Marietta,” said Boyd Johnson, newly elected vice-chair of the board. “My interest level is building off of the light-industrial use we already have in this area. It’s got outstanding commuter access.”
At its next meeting, Chairman Trey Barry said he wanted to create a priority list of projects the board should focus on. Barry represents Franklin Forest, DCT Franklin Road LLC and Marietta Cobalt, all industrial and office parks inside the CID.
The area suffers from crime problems, Marietta Police Chief Dan Flynn has said, and one board member wants to address those issues.
“We, as well as our tenants, would like to see an increased presence of public safety officers in the area, as well as amenities, restaurants and shopping,” said Amy Timms about the One Parkway Center office buildings she represents on the board.
Timms is general manager for Jones Lang LaSalle, which owns One Parkway Center inside the CID. That Chicago-based company was also hired by the city for advice on Franklin Road property purchases.
The board agreed to post advertisements to announce a proposed tax rate of 5 mills more than the county requires of the CID’s property owners. This rate would bring in $200,000 of revenue for the CID, said Lynn Rainey the board’s acting attorney.
The board will vote on the amount it will tax commercial property owners at a meeting on July 21.
Members said the money would help them apply for loans or grants to help the city with the projects it already has planned.
“I think we’re looking at a tremendously underutilized corridor, and I think we’ve put together a vehicle that can improve it,” said Rube McMullan, a board member who owns 40 acres of undeveloped commercial property inside the CID.
Rainey, who will propose at the next board meeting to be named the board’s attorney, suggested the board think about hiring a part-time employee to handle administrative details, such as keeping minutes at meetings and managing the board’s accounts.
In response, Heath Garrett, a member of Revitalize Marietta who helped get property owners committed to the CID, said he would deliver a proposal from his group at the next meeting to suggest that a member of the group fill the administrative role. Revitalize Marietta is a nonprofit that helped campaign to pass the $68 million Franklin Road redevelopment bond issue.
McMullan and another board member, Bob Morgan, who is the vice chairman of the Development Authority of Cobb County, reminisced back to what the Franklin Road area used to be like decades ago during the board meeting.
“Back in the ’70s, when we were young and single, everyone wanted to live on Franklin Road,” Morgan said. “Let’s make it like that again.”