News Column

GM Looking at Atlanta Sites for Innovation Center

Oct. 16, 2012

Greg Bluestein


General Motors is looking on metro Atlanta's northside for possible sites for an "innovation center" that could bring hundreds of jobs, according to two real estate executives with direct knowledge of the search.

The area is one of several East Coast cities in the running for the operation, and the executives said it isn't clear if metro Atlanta will be selected. If it happens, the center could generate hundreds of well-paying tech jobs.

General Motors spokeswoman Juli Huston-Rough said in an email Monday to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the company had no comment on the issue. State officials also declined to comment.

The company is looking for at least 100,000 square feet of office space in Sandy Springs and Alpharetta according to the real estate executives, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the potential deal. The former GM plant in Doraville, which the carmaker hopes to sell for $60 million, is likely not being considered, they said.

Atlanta has one potential advantage over other competitors. Former Coca-Cola chief executive Neville Isdell and Erroll Davis, Atlanta's schools superintendent, both serve on GM's board of directors.

The nation's biggest automaker has already announced plans for four "information technology innovation centers," which aim to bring more technology development under the company's roof. Much of that work is now done by outside firms.

GM has announced the locations of only two of those sites so far. The first center will be in Austin, Texas, with plans to hire 500 programmers and software specialists. And the carmaker said this month it will hire 1,500 more workers at a center in Warren, Mich.

Source: (c)2012 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.