Georgia-Pacific plans renovation, more jobs for downtown tower

Georgia-Pacific plans to add hundreds of jobs downtown as part of a significant renovation of its namesake Atlanta tower and expansion of its corporate hub.

The paper and consumer products giant plans to overhaul 23 floors of its tower at 133 Peachtree Street in a move that will accommodate the creation or relocation of 600 jobs over several years. The renovation will create more space as well as improve energy efficiency.

The company, which has 2,600 employees in Atlanta, plans renovations to its own floors as well as those it leases to other companies. That will create more space for tenants.

At a meeting Thursday of Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm, an agency executive said the new and relocated jobs are expected to pay $100,000 a year on average. The renovation is expected to cost about $150 million, and the board of the agency approved an incentive package involving $7.2 million in property tax breaks for the building over the next 10 years.

The city will see an increase in annual property tax collections of $1.2 million per year, while Fulton County is projected to see its revenue increase by $1.7 million.

Curley Dossman, president of the Georgia-Pacific Foundation, said the planned renovation will help the company create more space for tenants and help Georgia-Pacific compete for younger professionals.

Eloisa Klementich, CEO of Invest Atlanta, said the group’s focus is not only on recruiting new firms but supporting growth of existing Atlanta companies.

“Our concern was if they need to grow and expand and they can’t do it in this building, they might look in places potentially outside the city,” she said.

The vote to approve incentives for Georgia-Pacific, a unit of privately-held Koch Industries, came the day after Georgia lawmakers approved a controversial bill that critics say could enshrine discrimination into state law. The bill has been panned by the Metro Atlanta Chamber and other business and civil rights groups.

On Thursday, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and many civic and business leaders said they feared the bill could have dire consequences for the state’s economy and its reputation. Asked if the legislation came up during discussions with the Georgia-Pacific, both Klementich and Reed said it did not.

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