Marietta Daily Journal
by Hilary Butschek
January 21, 2015
MARIETTA — Home Depot representatives said the company is looking to move its IT center to a vacant building off Franklin Road, bringing 1,200 jobs to the site.
The announcement came at a meeting of the Development Authority of Cobb County on Tuesday, where Home Depot asked to borrow $200 million to help renovate a Marietta building, at 2161 Newmarket Parkway, as well as two buildings the company owns in Cumberland where it’s headquartered.
Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin said he’s “excited with a capital ‘E’” Home Depot is considering the spot near Franklin Road after the city passed a $68 million bond to help revitalize the area in 2013.
The company has not signed a lease, and Tumlin said it won’t unless it can get the tax abatement from the development authority.
The authority will vote at its Feb. 17 meeting whether to issue the bonds, resulting in a tax break for the company.
“A positive vote at the (development authority’s) meeting next month is an integral part of them doing it,” Tumlin said. “The signs are good, but it’s not a done deal.”
Jim McCarthy, Home Depot’s senior real estate director, said the company is set to lease about 250,000 square feet of office space in the Newmarket Parkway building.
Tumlin said Home Depot’s move would be good for the corridor.
“They’re an excellent company with a lot of Cobb County ties. For them to choose that particular location is exciting news for Marietta,” Tumlin said. “Home Depot too is a leader. It’s probably one of the best known corporations nationwide and in the state of Georgia. When people see that Franklin Road attracts a business like Home Depot, it’s an impressive thing.”
The company’s move would bring 525 new jobs to the Newmarket location and move 675 existing employees there, McCarthy said. That increase in traffic in the area will spur other industries to grow, Tumlin said.
“One thing it does, it will beget things like restaurants and service industries,” Tumlin said.
Although the bond money would not be used to pay for the lease on the new location, about $20 million of it could be used to furnish and buy equipment for the space on Newmarket Parkway, McCarthy said.
Another portion of the money will be used to buy equipment and furnishings for the company’s 1.7 million-square-foot Paces Ferry Road building and 191,000 square feet of space it owns on Cumberland Parkway, according to the application.
The authority voted 7-0 to allow Home Depot to come back at the meeting next month with a detailed site plan, a cost-benefit analysis and a study from the Georgia Tech showing how the proposed development would affect the area, said Clark Hungerford, chair of the development authority.
“This is the preliminary inducement. It encompasses the broad outline of the project. … This just gets the clock ticking. Then, they’ll fill in the blanks in the next 30 days,” Hungerford said. “It says there’s nothing in here that says we wouldn’t give the bonds.”
The next step is to gather more details about the proposal and then let the Marietta Board of Education know about the development, Hungerford said.
“As we get information we will let them know,” Hungerford said.
Proposed office building
At the same meeting, Atlanta-based TPA Group, an office building developer, asked the development authority to borrow $60 million.
Using the $60 million, TPA Group is proposing to build a seven-story office tower on a 7.8-acre property on the corner of Akers Mill Road and Cumberland Boulevard.
The office tower would provide 154,000 square feet of office space and include a 1,500-car parking lot, said Rick Bradshaw, president at TPA Group.
“The site’s unusual in its configuration,” Bradshaw said. “It’s been being used as a dumping area for highway construction near there.”
Bradshaw said engineers discovered concrete dumped on the spot, which will require extra money to remove to start building.
Bradshaw said he doesn’t have a committed tenant for the building, but he has a “serious potential commitment” that has yet to be finalized.
The potential tenant would bring 150 new jobs to Cobb and retain 150 jobs in the county with an average wage of $70,000, according to the application.
Hungerford said the authority will notify the Cobb Board of Education about the application when it gets more details.
Board member Donna Rowe described the proposed high-rise building as “beautiful” and an improvement to what the vacant lot looks like now.
“That site is awful. It’s a mess. It’s an eyesore,” Rowe said.
Bradshaw said the company plans on building a high-rise hotel on the same site later.
Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - Home Depot aims to bring 1 200 jobs to Franklin Road