Norfolk Southern adds color to planned HQ move to Atlanta

 Rolling to Atlanta (Photo:Shutterstock)

Rolling to Atlanta (Photo:Shutterstock)

Railroad giant Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC) added some color yesterday to its impending headquarters move to Atlanta from Norfolk, saying that it will spend $575 million to build 750,000 square feet of office space in the lower part of midtown Atlanta, that it will create 850 jobs in the city, and retain 2,025 jobs already here.

The new HQ will be at West Peachtree Street at Ponce de Leon Avenue and Third Street. Norfolk Southern has long had a regional office in the Midtown district 12 to 14 blocks north of the proposed site. The new location will house its corporate staff and operations controllers. The company already has about 2,800 employees in the Atlanta area and more than 4,700 in Georgia.

The project is expected to generate $811 million in economic benefits for the city, according to InvestAtlanta, Atlanta’s economic development arm which released a document containing the information.

According to a published report, the document was made public after the Atlanta City Council on Monday to approve up to $1.9 billion in public financing to California developer CIM Group as part of a planned $5 billion development project in a downtown area called the “Gulch” because it resembles a giant below-street-grade hole. The railroad owns 16 acres in the Gulch, and planned to sell it to CIM and plow the proceeds into the new HQ project. It made its relocation to Atlanta contingent upon consummation of the sale of the acreage.

Norfolk Southern has been based in Norfolk since it was formed in 1982 by the merger of the Norfolk & Western Railway and the Southern Railway Co. It has not disclosed any timetable for relocation.

Real estate experts have told Freightwaves that the move continues a pattern of corporations leaving smaller venues where they may have a long history to larger locations with access to major airports.