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PRESS RELEASE: Downtown Atlanta Building Gets Funding for Energy Efficient Upgrades

ATLANTA – The Invest Atlanta board approved Thursday $1.26 million in Westside Tax Allocation District (TAD) tax increment funding for energy-efficient upgrades at The Walton Building, which is being redeveloped into a 110-room hotel.

The nine-story building, currently operating as a residential hotel and located in the Fairlie-Poplar Historic District, will participate in the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge, launched in 2011 as part of a national initiative by President Barack Obama to make the nation’s commercial buildings 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020.

The Walton Building is one of four Westside TAD properties selected by Invest Atlanta to receive an energy audit, and its owners are the first to seek funding for upgrades under this new initiative.

“Creating a more sustainable city is a top priority of my Administration, and we are pleased to support commercial property developers who are committed to making their buildings as energy efficient as possible,” said Mayor Kasim Reed, who chairs the Invest Atlanta board. “The Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge has ambitious goals, and investing in these upgrades is a vital part of how we can successfully reduce water and energy consumption.”

The TAD funds will pay for part of a $3.1 million energy-efficiency project that includes window replacement and insulation, high-efficiency heating and air conditioning, lighting with occupancy sensors and laundry water recycling.

Built in 1910, the 85,000-square-foot building has the potential to be certified as LEED Silver, a designation expected to make the property more desirable for prospective guests and hotel chains.

The redevelopment is expected to create 50 temporary construction jobs, including 20 related to energy upgrades, as well as 40 permanent jobs at the hotel and 52 permanent jobs in nearby shops and restaurants.

“Atlanta is a forward-thinking green city, and we want our older buildings to retain their character while being equipped with the most energy-efficient technologies,” said Brian P. McGowan, President and CEO of Invest Atlanta. “These types of quality redevelopment projects have a positive impact on the neighborhood and make Atlanta an even better place to visit, live, work and do business.”

The Westside TAD was established in 1992 to facilitate redevelopment in the western portion of downtown and the historic neighborhoods of Vine City and English Avenue. A Tax Allocation District, or TAD, is a financing tool that frees up money for development in underserved communities by using increased tax revenue generated by the development to repay loans for the improvements.

About Invest Atlanta

Invest Atlanta is the official economic development authority for the City of Atlanta. Its purpose is to strengthen Atlanta’s economy and global competitiveness in order to create increased opportunity and prosperity for the people of Atlanta.

Chaired by the Mayor of Atlanta, and governed by a nine-member board of directors, Invest Atlanta’s programs and initiatives focus on developing and fostering public/private partnerships to create jobs, grow the economy, revitalize neighborhoods, attract investment, spur innovation, and encourage entrepreneurship. To achieve these goals, Invest Atlanta leverages the benefits of bond financing, revolving loan funds, housing financing, tax increment financing (TIF), and tax credits.