ATLANTA -- Mayor Kasim Reed thanked the people of College Park on Thursday for a decision he said will insure that Atlanta residents don't see an increase in taxes in the renovation of Philips Arena as the project rolls ahead "full steam."
Reed told 11Alive that the City of College Park voted to allow Atlanta to collect money in the rental of cars at the Hartsfield-Jackson to cover the city's portion of the arena's update. The neighboring city's agreement was necessary since the rental property actually sits in College Park.
"Last night they had the unanimous vote so the $192.5 million renovation of Philips is moving full steam ahead," Reed said. "And I'm excited for Atlanta and having the Atlanta Hawks for another 30 years."
Of the price, Atlanta is responsible for up to $142.5 million. The city previously announced that $110 million of that would come from a series of bonds backed by the rental car tax at the airport and other parts of the city. An additional $12.5 million is expected to come from the $30 million sale of Turner Field to Georgia State University and Carter. Approximately $20 million in proceeds is expected from the liquidation of other city assets. Following the announcement in November, the city said it also expected an estimated $50 million from the Atlanta Hawks.
Reed said that the renovation of the facility was necessary to keep the location viable for the city's National Basketball Association (NBA) team - the Atlanta Hawks - even though it's a relatively new building compared to others around it.
"It is, but the vintage for sports teams - for NBA teams - when you look at it through the lens it's one of the oldest buildings in the NBA," Reed said. "So most teams in the current NBA system are playing in much newer facilities."
Reed added that it's one of the oldest buildings not to be modified or received some form of upgrade. Reed said the Hawks will continue to play in the arena over the estimated two seasons it will be under renovation. The facility will be updated primarily in the off-season when the building is less active. Members of the team working on the renovation also worked to renovate Madison Square Garden he said.
Reed also stressed that the facility will not force an uptick in taxes for Atlanta residents.
"I want everybody at home to be very clear," Reed said. "The people of Atlanta's taxes will not be raised one cent and the general fund will not be paying for the renovation of this facility."
That's due to an expanded car rental tax at the airport facility on the edge of airport and College Park land. In addition to thanking the neighboring city, he thanked the Georgia general assembly for approving the expanded tax.
"The last point is very important to the people of Atlanta," the mayor said. "We own this building, so we are renovating a building that we are the owners of in order to make sure that we have a tenant and that the people of the city have a terrific facility."
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