Industryweek 2824 Porsche Large Photo

City of Atlanta - Reaching for the Future while Expanding the Present

Aug. 15, 2012
Porsche Headquarters Track Integration  Photo: HOK

If agility is the key to ensuring a successful manufacturing company, the same characteristic holds true for the viability of a city. 

Atlanta prides itself on both its current flexibility in attracting and retaining its manufacturing base as well as being ready for the future.

"Our strategic goal is to be in position to take advantage of opportunities that come up,” explains Bill Cronin, vice president of Economic Development for Invest Atlanta.

Invest Atlanta is the official economic development authority for the City of Atlanta which is able to leverage bond financing, revolving loan funds, housing financing, tax increment financing  and tax credits with the goal of creating jobs, attracting investment, spurring innovation and encouraging entrepreneurship.

In an effort to encourage entrepreneurship, on Tuesday Mayor Kasim Reed joined with Invest Atlanta to launch of a new program called Start Up Atlanta.

“Atlanta's entrepreneurial spirit has always been strong and with the launch of Start Up Atlanta, companies will have a direct link to some of the most valuable resources needed when starting a business,” said Mayor Reed. “This initiative not only will pair entrepreneurs with a vast array of talent and potential funding, but also will help create jobs and grow Atlanta’s economy."

The program includes a web-based platform that visually maps out valuable resources such as incubators, accelerators and service providers. Local tech and startup leaders, as well as Atlanta’s Fortune 500 companies, can participate by providing feedback in the areas of business and market strategy, fundraising, team development and more.

“This is a really exciting initiative,” said U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director David J. Kappos. “If our country is going to maintain its competitive edge in the global economy, we’re going to need more efforts like Start Up Atlanta to help unleash the full innovative and entrepreneurial potential of our nation’s great cities.”

Start Up Atlanta will also leverage resources to expand financing options for startups by connecting entrepreneurs with business advisors, investors and customers in the market.

Supporting Expansion

While the city is looking ahead to incorporate ideas that come from these new companies, it is also heavily focused on helping established companies expand and innovate.

When Porsche North America was looking to create a headquarters, the city of Atlanta joined forces to assist the company move its base from the suburbs of Atlanta to the city. “We worked closely with Porsche on site selection, workforce development and incentives,” explained Cronin.

Porsche chose the “aerotropolis” as its new home. The 128-acre mixed-use site had been home to a Ford plant.

Joe Folz, general counsel and secretary for Porshce North America agrees that cooperation as well as access to government officials were important factors in the site selection. “It was a very complex deal that involved a couple of counties, cities as well as federal aviation and port authorities.”

The new headquarters, which will open in late 2013, will house up to 400 employees and include a test track.

“This new facility will allow our employees to live and breathe Porsche,” explains Folz. “And customers will be able to test drive our cars which essential to experiencing our brand."

From this location the company is planning for continued sales growth in the US, which has been Porsche's largest market for many years.

Continued growth is just what Atlanta is after. “Porsche’s decision to reinforce its roots and growth its next-generation U.S. headquarters here is a testament to the vitality and vibrancy of our city. The Porsche crest will be a perfect welcome sign to greet the hundreds of thousands of visitors and guests that land each day at the world’s busiest airport,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

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