It’s official: Norfolk Southern to move HQ to Atlanta

Written by Stuart Chirls, Senior Editor
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Rendering of Norfolk Southern headquarters complex to be built in Atlanta. Image: Midtown Alliance Atlanta

Norfolk Southern Corp. officially announced plans to relocate its headquarters from Norfolk to Atlanta, lured by a multimillion dollar bond issue to help pay for a new downtown office tower.

“Alignment, collaboration, and accountability are the hallmarks of Norfolk Southern’s plan to transform this company and its culture. Our new headquarters in Atlanta advances these key elements of success,” Jim Squires, chairman, president and chief executive, told employees Wednesday morning. “Our potential has always been great and now is greater still, as we bring together all of our headquarters functions into a single, integrated team.”

Norfolk Southern plans to build a $575 million headquarters complex, reported in Railway Age, after Atlanta approved a $600 million bond offer to redevelop company-owned property in the city’s Gulch neighborhood.  The city’s development arm, Invest Atlanta, last week approved $23.6 million in tax breaks for the campus in Midtown at West Peachtree Street and Ponce de Leon Avenue, and state tax credits for new jobs and other extras could increase the value of the incentive package by millions more. Norfolk Southern has said it plans to relocate or create 850 jobs and retain more than 2,000 jobs currently located in Midtown near the Woodruff Arts Center.

“Norfolk Southern is grateful to the city of Norfolk and the commonwealth of Virginia for their support of our company over the last three plus decades,” Squires said. “We look forward to the continued growth of our business in the commonwealth as the many operating employees who remain serve the customers and promote economic development in this integral part of our network.”

The company previously started moving personnel to its new Network Operations Center at its David R. Goode Building in Atlanta.

“As a major hub for both transportation and innovation, Georgia is a fitting home for Norfolk Southern’s new headquarters,” said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. “As the Number One state for business six years in a row, Georgia has become a preferred location for industry leaders such as Norfolk Southern who seek an expansive infrastructure network, a culture of collaboration, and ready-to-work communities. This announcement also reinforces Georgia’s distinction as the Southeast’s gateway to global commerce. We appreciate Norfolk Southern’s significant investment in Fulton County and look forward to celebrating the company’s future growth and continued success.”

Said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, “With a shared history dating back to 1846, we are proud Norfolk Southern now calls Atlanta home. This relocation was made possible, in part, by the passing of the Gulch deal and is a reminder that great things happen when our public and private sectors work together. Norfolk Southern will be a great addition to our city, and I look forward to partnering with them as we work to build One Atlanta.”

The company said it is advanced discussions to purchase a site from Cousins Properties at 650 West Peachtree St. NW, where it will build the 750,000-square-foot headquarters in Midtown Atlanta. The company said Cousins would manage development, with more information to be released during the first quarter of 2019.

“Norfolk Southern values Atlanta’s vitality and looks forward to contributing more of our own energy to its business, social, and community environments,” Squires said.

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