CUMBERLAND — Just hours before the day’s first pitch in SunTrust Park, Atlanta Braves leadership along, with county officials, joined executives with German conglomerate Thyssenkrupp to pitch dirt at the future site of the company’s North American headquarters.
The morning groundbreaking ceremony marked a step toward the 2022 opening of Thyssenkrupp’s $200 million-plus complex just blocks away from the baseball team’s home site. The complex will be composed of three buildings, the tallest being a 420-foot-tall Innovation and Qualification Headquarters that will feature a showroom, event spaces and an elevator test tower with 18 shafts to test new concepts and pilot products.
Accompanying the tower, which will be the tallest building in Cobb County and the tallest elevator tower in the U.S., according to the company, will be a 155,000-square-foot corporate headquarters that will house the company’s executive team, corporate functions and more, and an 80,000-square-foot business headquarters from which administrative functions will take place.
“When we were looking at different sites, most elevator companies put their research and development centers in very rural areas — it’s cheap to build, and that’s what they do. But Thyssenkrupp is definitely taking a different approach,” said Steve Wedge, chief financial officer and interim chief executive officer at Thyssenkrupp Elevator North America. “We want to have something that we can invite the public into and experience our products, experience what the elevator business is about. We want a great place for our people, to attract the top talent, and this accomplishes all those things.”
Three months ago, employees began moving into Thyssenkrupp’s elevator division’s business headquarters, an existing office building at 3100 Interstate North Circle in the Pennant Park business park. Wedge said the Cumberland headquarters, once it reaches its full occupation in September or October of 2022, will be home to nearly 1,000 jobs compared to its nearly 350 positions currently in metro Atlanta.
Construction is expected to start “soon,” likely at the end of July, Wedge added, and be complete in 2021 ahead of the move-in over the following months.
Mike Plant, president and CEO of Braves Development Co., said Thyssenkrupp had already made “great progress” on its site.
“A few short months ago, there were 70,000 cubic yards of dirt on this site, and I heard about it every single day from (Liberty Media and team president) Terry (McGuirk), because he loved seeing it for the last couple years,” Plant joked with those who attended Thursday’s event, before continuing, “We’re confident obviously that in this partnership, this friendship we’ve established with the leadership from Thyssenkrupp, this legacy is going to continue. This is going to be historic, this is going to transform this area even more.”
A recurring label for Thyssenkrupp’s future tower during the ceremony was “iconic,” mentioned by both Wedge and Cobb County Chairman Mike Boyce, who also gave remarks.
“Just to be sure, it will never replace the Big Chicken as the so-called compass from which all people in Cobb County give their directions,” Boyce quipped, “but with the construction of the Thyssenkrupp demonstration tower or test tower, Cobb continually and confidently stands and shapes its future.”