NS Unveils New Headquarters in Atlanta

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor

Norfolk Southern (NS) on Nov. 10 formally opened its new headquarters building in Atlanta, Ga., the city and operational home of predecessor Southern Railway.

When Norfolk & Western merged with Southern Railway in 1982 to form NS, the headquarters was located in Norfolk, Va., while the company’s operations and technology leadership was in Atlanta. (For more NS history, read “NS Donating Southern Railway Archives.”) A 2018 city of Atlanta vote approving a $600 million bond offer clinched the deal for NS to build and move into a $575 million headquarters complex there.

System-wide, NS employs 19,000 employees, of which 3,000 will call the new headquarters home.

The 750,000-square-foot building, which rests on a 3.4-acre campus in Tech Square, was built to LEED version 4 specifications, and NS aims to achieve LEED Gold certification for it. Construction and design partners include: Cousins Properties; HITT Contracting; HKS, Inc.; HOK; Holder Construction; JLL; and Pickard Chilton.

Sustainability and employee health and wellness were “front and center in designing this new space,” according to the Class I railroad. The building features:
• Two modern architecture glass towers with a connecting campus-style hub.
• Touchless technology from top to bottom.
• Open workspaces, street-level plazas and rooftop terraces.
• Employee amenities, including a restaurant-like food hall, 24/7 fitness center, on-site daycare, a coffee shop, art installations and an artist in residence studio.

“There are many reasons we are proud to call Atlanta home,” NS Chairman, President and CEO Jim Squires said during the Nov. 10 ribbon-cutting ceremony. “The city is diverse and culturally rich, with amenities that will ensure our employees and their families thrive. We are committed that Norfolk Southern and its people will be more than just residents of Atlanta—we plan to be engaged community partners, committed to the future of our new home.

“Norfolk Southern’s presence will help accelerate the city’s competitive advantage in technology. Today, our data scientists, engineers and IT professionals are using artificial intelligence, machine vision and advanced analytics to make the railroad industry safer, and improve service for our customers. At the same time, we will continue to lead our industry in sustainability. Today’s locomotives are the most environmentally responsible way to move freight over land.”

“To be a leader in today’s rapidly evolving transportation and logistics market, the company needed to be more agile and work more collaboratively across organizational boundaries,” said NS Executive Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer Annie Adams, who is an honoree of the 2021 Railway Age Readers’ Influential Leaders program. “Our new building brings us together in a central location, which was designed to boost collaboration and innovation.”

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