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Developer discusses plan for VR TAD anchor project

VILLA RICA, Georgia – A number of Carroll County officials received a detailed presentation Monday of a major mixed-use development that will anchor Villa Rica’s first-ever Tax Allocation District (TAD) and generate millions in annual sales and property tax revenues.

Fuqua Development has announced plans to build a grocery-anchored, mixed-use development that will include multiple stores and restaurants, along with 255 townhomes and 208 apartments. The project would be built on Punkintown Road, directly across from the Mirror Lake community, and the company plans to begin construction by the second quarter of 2022.

Fuqua (Few-QUAY) is one of the largest retail developers in the Southeast. Some of its notable metro Atlanta projects include The Battery at SunTrust Park, The Exchange @ Gwinnett, Decatur Crossings, and Peachtree Corners Town Center, among many others.

The unnamed Villa Rica project is expected to generate $2 million annually in sales taxes and $1.4 million in new property taxes for the city, Carroll County, and the county school system. The school system itself is estimated to receive $1.5 million annually from sales, real property, and personal property taxes.

The sales tax revenues will begin as soon as the project is completed, which is estimated for some time in 2023. Because the project is part of a TAD, the property tax revenues will be seen after an estimated $8 million in TAD development bonds are paid, a timeline the city has estimated to be well under 10 years.

TADs are tools designed to accelerate development in defined geographical regions that have historically proved difficult to develop. Villa Rica voters authorized the city in 2018 to create such districts. Property taxes generated by new construction in the districts are deferred from taxing authorities until the bonds – which fund new infrastructure construction – are retired.

Fuqua’s project is intended to be the anchor of the city’s first TAD and will construct the Mirror Lake Connector, a long-desired roadway linking the east side of the city to downtown Villa Rica. The roadway will bisect the development and eventually join North Carroll Road, as well as connect to another new road that will extend north toward the Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica campus.

Monday’s presentation was hosted by Villa Rica Mayor Gil McDougal and led by Karen Handel, president and CEO of Carroll Tomorrow.  Those attending included representatives of county government, including Commission Chairman Michelle Morgan and District 2 Commissioner Clint Chance, as well as County School Board Chair Sandra Morris and Superintendent Scott Cowart.  Others attending included representatives of Carrollton’s city government, Villa Rica’s city council, and Sen. Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton), majority leader of Georgia’s State Senate.

Speaking to the group, Jeff Fuqua, founder of the company, said that the development would have a “halo effect” on surrounding properties, generating new development with even more annual sales and property tax revenues.

While the new development will bring an estimated 230 new students into the school district,  Fuqua told school board members the cost of accommodating that growth will be offset by $682,000 in net positive public fund collections for the county school system.

Carroll County commissioners may consider an intergovernmental agreement with the city concerning the project in early 2022.

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