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Posted: 3:11 p.m. Monday, June 10, 2013

Coke to move nearly 2,000 workers downtown

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By J. Scott Trubey

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Coca-Cola confirmed on Monday it plans to relocate a substantial number of information technology workers from Cobb County to downtown Atlanta.

The Atlanta-based beverage giant said it plans to move 2,000 workers and operate an “Information Technology Center of Excellence” in offices tied to the SunTrust Banks headquarters complex on Peachtree Center Avenue. The center is expected to open in mid-2014, under a 10-year lease.

In April, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Coke had identified the SunTrust complex as its preferred location to move at least 500 IT workers from the Towers at Wildwood complex, and that the figure could reach 1,000.

But Coke’s announcement Monday shows the company’s plans were far larger than expected.

Coke’s move in-town would add vibrancy to downtown and could be a boon to restaurants and retailers in the area that depend on patronage from nearby office workers and the city’s convention and tourism business.

“Coca-Cola is proud to continue to invest in our hometown,” Coke spokesman Kent Landers said in a statement. Landers said the relocation would position “nearly 2,000 of our Atlanta-based Information Technology associates and contractors in one central location to further improve the efficiency of our operations.”

The affected workers are part of the Coca-Cola Refreshments division, which was created after Coca-Cola acquired the U.S. operations of bottler Coca-Cola Enterprises in 2010.

The affected workers occupy the 3200 Wildwood building off Windy Hill Road. Coca-Cola will continue to have workers stationed at the neighboring 2500 Wildwood tower, and Coca-Cola Enterprises’ operations in the complex are not affected by the pending move.

The move would continue a long pairing of Coca-Cola and SunTrust. SunTrust predecessor Trust Company of Georgia had a lead role in taking Coca-Cola public in 1919, and for decades the bank was one of Coke’s biggest shareholders.

Coca-Cola previously kept the secret formula for its namesake fizzy beverage in SunTrust’s vault until the beverage giant moved the formula to its World of Coca-Cola museum at Centennial Olympic Park in 2011.

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