Porsche makes HQ move to Hapeville official

1:33 PM, May 12, 2011   |    comments
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HAPEVILLE, Ga. -- Porsche Car North America will receive more than $3 million in economic incentives to relocate its North American headquarters to the Aerotropolis development in Hapeville.

The City of Atlanta offered more than $1 million in incentives to lure the 26-acre headquarters campus to the site of the former Ford plant, Atlanta Business Chronicle has learned.

Porsche current headquarters is in Sandy Springs, where the company has been for 13 years.

As Business Chronicle first reported, Porsche will build a $100 million headquarters at Aerotropolis, a 130-acre mixed-use development that will include office, retail, hotel and airport parking.

The Porsche campus will include a 150,000-square-foot office tower, a business center, classic Porsche restoration shop and a fine dining restaurant. The development will feature a 1.6-mile driving circuit - with off-road and on-road courses - where visitors can fly in for a day of test driving $100,000 Porsche 911s.

The test track and customer experience center will make the campus one-of-a-kind in the auto industry, said Porsche North America CEO Detlev von Platen.

"Detroit is getting a little bit jealous," Gov. Nathan Deal said. "We are becoming very rapidly the state that is rapidly becoming the automotive capital of the U.S."

Gov. Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed attended Porsche's official announcement of their move Thursday at the Georgia Capitol. A number of gleaming Porsches were parked outside, drawing quizzical looks from motorists, and providing photo opportunities for dignitaries and the occasional pedestrian.

Porsche's state incentives include $1.75 million in job tax credits and $848,500 in grants and road infrastructure improvements.

Winning a global brand like Porsche as anchor tenant is critical to the future of Aerotropolis.

"Porsche's decision to reinforce its roots and grow its next-generation U.S. headquarters here is a testament to the vitality and vibrancy of our city and an exciting addition to the many iconic brands that also call Atlanta home," Reed said in a statement.

Aerotropolis, which is being developed by Jacoby Group, is a 6.5-million-square-foot, aviation-intensive business district expected to include 2.1 million square feet of offices. At full build-out, expected over a decade, the project is estimated to draw more than 10,000 jobs. 

It's viewed as a major economic development tool for the region and it's aimed at corporate headquarters, professional services firms and logistics-related companies.

The project is a year behind schedule thanks to the financial crisis and economic recession.

With Porsche as a calling card, attracting more tenants to the development will be easier, real estate insiders said.

Aerotropolis is an "example of how you can take what we thought was a loss, with the Ford facility closing, and turn it into a great new opportunity," Deal said.

(Atlanta Business Chronicle)

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