NCR in deal with Cousins for Midtown HQ

Financial technology company NCR has signed a deal with Atlanta-based Cousins Properties to build its new headquarters campus in Midtown Atlanta, a project the company says will eventually house 3,600 workers.

Cousins has acquired the site at Eighth and Spring streets near Georgia Tech’s Technology Square and will develop and own the campus. NCR, which will move to Midtown from Gwinnett County, has signed a 15-year lease with extension options. The setup is similar to insurance giant State Farm’s agreement with developer KDC to build a regional headquarters in Dunwoody.

Cousins expects to break ground on the $200 million building early next year, with an opening slated by early 2018. City leaders have described the project as having a total development value of $260 million that could rise to more than $300 million.

NCR Chairman and CEO Bill Nuti said in a news release the project is an “ambitious move” and “a critical first step in a larger goal to create a ‘Silicon Valley of the East’ right here in Atlanta.”

“We are currently, and will continue, advocating for other tech leaders and innovative companies to follow our lead,” he said.

NCR and the city have agreed to an incentive package valued at nearly $16 million, including a tax break over 10 years valued at about $12.6 million. As part of the deal, the city can recoup portions of a $3 million grant if NCR doesn’t meet certain benchmarks.

NCR is best known for making ATMs and cash registers, but the company is changing into more of a software business. Reports have persisted that the company, or some of its parts, could be buyout targets. Major investment firms have reportedly expressed interest.

NCR officials have declined to discuss any potential sale of assets or other strategic moves. The deal with Cousins signals the company’s commitment to Atlanta, people familiar with the transaction told the AJC.

Craig Richard, president and CEO of Invest Atlanta, the city’s development agency, said NCR’s logo “stamped cross the skyline is exciting and sends the message that Atlanta is a globally competitive city.”

More details about the project’s design are expected to be released next week during a neighborhood Development Review Committee meeting, part of the city’s planning and zoning process.

At about 485,000 square feet, the first tower could rise to about 20 stories. The L-shaped parcel accommodates a potential second office tower, said Cousins CEO Larry Gellerstedt.

“It’s a great site,” he said, adding, “there’s not a part of town that has more headlines and exciting things going on that (Midtown).”

A person with knowledge of the situation said Duda Paine Architects, designer of the Terminus office towers in Buckhead, will be the building architect. Gensler, a global design firm, will design the project’s interiors.