Homebuilder PulteGroup confirmed on Friday its plan to relocate its corporate headquarters from Detroit to Atlanta, a move Mayor Kasim Reed said “cements” the city’s standing as a commercial force in the Southeast.
The Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based building giant said Friday it will relocate its corporate offices to Atlanta in 2014, giving its staff about a year to prepare. Pulte has about 380 employees in Michigan, and plans to have about 300 to 350 workers at its corporate offices in Atlanta, the company said in a news release.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution confirmed the planned move Thursday, the same day The Wall Street Journal said the company’s board approved the move and informed Gov. Nathan Deal and Reed.
Reed said the move reflects the city’s resurgence from the depths of the recession.
“The housing industry is definitely coming back,” Reed told the AJC. “And this cements our city’s role as the center for commerce in the Southeast.”
Pulte Chairman, President and CEO Richard Dugas Jr. said in the news release much of the company’s growth has come in states from Virginia to Florida.
“We have historically managed our growth from Michigan, but the company has reached a point where we must pursue a strategy that better fits with the long-term growth trends for our company and industry. This relocation will bring us closer to our customers and a larger portion of our investment portfolio,” Dugas said. “This was not an easy decision, but I am confident that it is the right choice, at the right time, for the ongoing success of the organization.”
Deal said the headquarters move would add high-paying jobs to the state’s capital city.
“And these are top-level jobs, the types of jobs we want to attract,” he said. “This is a big, big win for the city.”
Pulte said in 2012 its operations from Virginia to Florida accounted for 37 percent of its home closings and 43 percent of its annual invested cash.
The company has said it will increase its investments in land and development through 2014 to $1.4 billion.
James Ellinghausen, Pulte executive vice president for human resources, said in the release it was “too early” to say how many employees would relocate from Michigan, but that for the workers who do not, the company would offer severance packages and other assistance.
An individual with knowledge of the matter told the AJC on Thursday that Pulte plans to move to an as yet undetermined office building, likely in Buckhead. The individual said the company is eyeing several locations in that part of the city.
Dugas formerly was head of a company division based in Atlanta.
Pulte suffered a major blow during the housing downturn, but its financial picture has brightened more recently.
It acquired Centex Corp. in 2009, bringing together two of the nation’s largest homebuilders with operations in nearly 30 states. Still, the homebuilding sector is deeply fragmented. Though one of the nation’s biggest builders, Pulte produced only about 5 percent of the new U.S. homes sold last year. Among the company’s brands are Centex, Pulte Homes and Del Webb.
The company had revenues of $4.82 billion last year, up from the year before, but still off the $6.26 billion it notched in 2008. Last year it turned its first annual profit in at least five years. Pulte had more than 3,600 employees at the end of last year, according to its latest annual report.
Pulte’s is part of a string of potential job wins for the city of Atlanta, which in years past had seen a trend of major companies moving out of intown locations. Among brighter signs for the city: Coke recently has considered moving hundreds of jobs into downtown from a suburban Cobb County office park.
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