CUMBERLAND — German industrial conglomerate Thyssenkrupp will be digging its roots further into Georgia, announcing Thursday its plans to build an estimated $240 million facility — and 420-foot tower — inside The Battery Atlanta near SunTrust Park.
One of the world’s largest elevator companies, Thyssenkrupp officials along with representatives of the Braves Development Company announced Thursday morning the German company’s plans to build a new North American headquarters on a 4.8-acre property adjacent to and north of Interstate 285 and on the south side of Circle 75 Parkway. The land is owned by the Braves, which would lease the property to the company, build and manage the building.
Upon completion, which is anticipated in the first quarter of 2022, the Elevator Americas Complex, as it has been named, will include three facilities anchored by a 420-foot-tall elevator qualification and test tower, the tallest of its kind in the country and one of the tallest in the world. It will also be the tallest structure in Cobb after county commissioners last week gave the green light to build at that height. The site off Circle 75 Parkway had been limited to 300 feet under previously set stipulations.
The company is now awaiting final clearance for the height from the Federal Aviation Administration, which is expected to be granted in August, according to Rich Hussey, CEO of Thyssenkrupp Elevator Americas.
“Cobb County has great neighborhoods and a very good reputation from education, the school systems, but also The Battery itself,” Hussey told the MDJ in an interview Wednesday, adding that the Atlanta metro area was chosen for a multitude of reasons.
“Atlanta has a vibrant economy. Secondly, it’s home to quite a few startup companies, incubator-type companies, and also has several Fortune 100 companies that we would like to partner with,” Hussey said. “Thirdly, we expect to bring thousands and thousands of our employees, customers and business partners to our new headquarters as well as our test tower, and we wanted an international city where access would be very accommodating for that. We were also looking for cities with world class universities as well as a strong pool of talent, and with universities like Emory and Georgia Tech, again Atlanta rose to the top.”
With 18 elevator shafts, the Innovation Complex test tower will be used to trial new concepts and product pilots, including high-speed elevators, a two-cabins-per-shaft elevator system known as TWIN, as well as what the company calls the world’s first rope-less and sideways-moving elevator system, MULTI. In addition, the test tower will also conduct tests to ensure compliance with stringent safety requirements on standard elevators.
Thyssenkrupp’s other two facilities will be a 155,000-square-foot corporate headquarters, while its 80,000-square-foot business headquarters will be home to the company’s shared service and administrative functions located an estimated 10-minute walk away across the pedestrian bridge.
Thursday’s announcement follows last month’s approval of up to $264 million in bonds and a 10-year tax abatement for the company granted by the Development Authority of Cobb County. At the time the bonds and abatement were approved, Thyssenkrupp’s representatives said the company was considering other locations in addition to the Cobb property.
With plans to move 600 or 700 employees from company sites across the country as well as their families, Hussey said the company “wanted a city that was a close-knit community, and obviously Atlanta has a lot of great neighborhoods, schools in that area, there’s world-class entertainment, retail, restaurants, and then obviously Atlanta has a lot of attractions."
Thyssenkrupp Elevator CEO Andreas Schierenbeck said Wednesday the company will not only move employees here, but also attract many others, citing the success of its 807-foot test tower in Rottweil, Germany, which was completed last year.
“In our test tower in Germany, we got in six months 100,000 visitors coming to the test tower just to go up and go down. And of course, these persons are buying stuff around (the area), so they create business,” Schierenbeck said. “How much that is, we don’t know.”
Mike Plant, president and CEO of the Braves Development Company, which is developing the office tower, said the headquarters and tower will bring an “incredible amount of people” to the Cumberland area.
“All their technicians will train here. Some of the numbers they’ve told me is that the average stay is three to five nights. What does that do? That means they stay in hotels, they eat in restaurants, they spend money and entertainment themselves in this Cumberland area,” Plant said. “It’s good for everybody.”
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, who delivered remarks at Thursday’s event, agreed.
“You know the old saying, of course — they’re tired of hearing it, I’m sure — is that in the elevator business, there are a lot of ups and downs,” Deal said, to laughter from some in the crowd. “Today is one of those ups, and it is an up for the state of Georgia, for the Cobb County area in particular, and really this whole region.”
The Elevator Americas Complex, when completed, is expected to house more than 900 full-time employees, or about 6 percent of Thyssenkrupp Elevator Americas’ total workforce across North America.
The company already maintains a presence in Alpharetta, downtown Atlanta and Kennesaw, but the new facilities are expected to add an estimated 863 jobs to the metro area.
“We are an international company — some call us a German engineering company, but our roots in the U.S. are going deep,” Schierenbeck said during Thursday’s announcement.
Thyssenkrupp Elevator Americas has more than 20,000 employees across the U.S., Canada, Central America and South America, with 15,000 of those employees based in North America. Thyssenkrupp Elevator Americas has more than 230 branch and service locations.