Atlanta-based Norfolk Southern, joined by Georgia state and city leaders, today held a groundbreaking ceremony to launch construction of its new corporate headquarters building in Atlanta.
“This is an exciting day for Norfolk Southern: We break ground on a new headquarters building, and equally important, begin a new chapter of our railroad’s proud history in Atlanta,” said James A. Squires, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Today, we celebrate the start of an exciting era of collaboration and alignment for the NS corporate team that will benefit our employees, our customers, our shareholders, and the communities we serve.”
Among state and local leaders joining Squires for the event were Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Both the state and the city worked closely with Norfolk Southern on development agreements that contributed to the company’s decision, announced in December, to relocate its corporate headquarters from Norfolk, Virginia, to Atlanta.
“Norfolk Southern is especially appreciative of support received from the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Invest Atlanta, who share our commitment to business growth that generates good-paying jobs and economic prosperity in Atlanta and across the state,” Squires said. “In addition, Norfolk Southern thanks the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and Central Atlanta Progress for their efforts in promoting our headquarters relocation.”
“It’s a great day in Georgia when a Fortune 500 company returns home to its Atlanta roots and breaks ground on a beautiful new headquarters building in Midtown,” said Gov. Kemp. “Today’s celebration is a direct result of the hard work and commitment of many partners in the public and private sectors who supported this relocation project, including Gov. Nathan Deal. Georgia’s leading logistics infrastructure is among our greatest economic development assets, and this announcement is a testament to the critical role our logistics network plays in creating jobs and investment opportunities in every corner of our state. Norfolk Southern is an outstanding employer and civic partner, and I look forward to seeing them grow and prosper here in Georgia.”
“I would like to thank CEO Jim Squires and the entire Norfolk Southern team on their decision to make Atlanta their new home,” said Mayor Bottoms. “This relocation is not only a testament to Atlanta’s thriving, inclusive business community and talented workforce; it exemplifies the power of public-private sector teamwork in our city. We look forward to continued work with the Norfolk Southern team as they begin to transition to Atlanta.”
Norfolk Southern has engaged Atlanta-based Cousins Properties to oversee construction of the new headquarters complex. Located on a 3.4-acre property at 650 West Peachtree St., between Ponce de Leon Avenue and Third Street, the two-tower glass structure will feature approximately 750,000 square feet of office space. A campus-style hub will connect the two towers, serving as a destination for employees to work and socialize throughout the day. Outside, a lush entry plaza will welcome employees, guests, and neighbors into the building’s main lobby, where they can enjoy soaring ceilings, beautiful views, and a bustling coffee shop open to the public.
“Cousins is thrilled to partner with Norfolk Southern to develop their new corporate headquarters in Atlanta,” said Colin Connolly, president and chief executive officer of Cousins Properties. “We share their vision in creating an iconic project that will have a positive impact on the Midtown community and the Norfolk Southern team.”
Norfolk Southern and Cousins Properties are designing a campus that reimagines the employee work environment and experience. Amenities to help employees thrive will include a vibrant on-site dining facility, an adjacent rooftop garden and private greenspace, a comprehensive fitness center, state-of-the-art conference and training facilities, on-site child-care, and a variety of individual and shared workspaces to serve employees’ diverse needs while promoting interaction and collaboration.
The headquarters site is in “Tech Square,” a hub of innovation, technology, and talent in the heart of Midtown Atlanta with close ties to Georgia Tech, a continual source of talent for Norfolk Southern’s management trainee program. In addition, with easy access to MARTA, highways in every direction, and a world-class airport, Norfolk Southern employees will be close to home, close to the Norfolk Southern rail network, and just a step from partners and customers in North America and across the globe.
Plans call for the building to be completed and occupied by Norfolk Southern in the third quarter of 2021.
Through Southern Railway and other predecessor railroads, Norfolk Southern traces its roots in Atlanta to the mid-1840s. Currently, more than 2,000 Norfolk Southern employees work in Midtown Atlanta at the company’s Peachtree Street operations center – about a mile from the new headquarters site. Around 500 employees work at the company’s Norfolk headquarters. Norfolk Southern’s migration to Atlanta already has begun, with another 300-plus dispatchers already relocated and in place at the company’s newly opened Network Operations Center. The first wave of Norfolk-based employees relocates in July, and the consolidation will complete when the new headquarters building is finished.
The railroad’s relocation will bring approximately 850 jobs to Atlanta with an average salary of $105,000 and generate an economic impact of around $811 million for the region.
“Moving Norfolk Southern’s headquarters to Atlanta drives our railroad forward as we ‘Reimagine Possible’ and create an even brighter future for our company,” Squires said.