State Farm to headline massive project near Perimeter Mall

Insurance giant State Farm and a major developer outlined plans for a massive mixed-use complex Friday near Perimeter Mall that will serve as a major operations center for the insurer and rank among the largest real estate projects announced in metro Atlanta since the Great Recession.

Developer KDC said it plans to turn 17 acres along Hammond Drive near the Dunwoody MARTA station into a development including retail, multiple office towers and a 200-room hotel. The planned 2 million-plus square-foot development would rival the sprawling Concourse office complex – with its iconic King and Queen buildings – in terms of total office space.

Illinois-based State Farm, which in the past year has started moving thousands of staffers into several office buildings in the Central Perimeter area, will be the development’s first tenant. State Farm last year said it would develop a national operations center in Dunwoody.

State Farm said Friday it has about 5,000 employees in metro Atlanta and expects to have 8,000 employees in the region “in the coming years.” State Farm is consolidating many of its functions in metro Atlanta, Phoenix and the Dallas area, and the insurer said its operations in metro Atlanta will be staffed by current employees as well as new hires.

State Farm said it would lease the project’s first building on a four-acre property currently home to a Chequer’s Seafood Grill restaurant. Construction is expected to begin this summer, the insurer and KDC said. State Farm previously acquired the adjacent 10-story Hammond Exchange building and 13 acres of undeveloped land around it.

In August, the property and casualty insurer announced it was selling property in Johns Creek, where it has customer service, operations and support staff. The two buildings house 2,000 employees. The company said it planned to lease the property back from the eventual purchaser for 10 years. State Farm also leased a large chunk of space in the nearby Terraces office park. In 2012, the company signed a lease agreement for 64 and 66 Perimeter Center East.

Other major developers are also looking to redevelop property in Perimeter Mall area. Houston development firm Hines announced plans last March to build 100 Northpark on 16 acres at Abernathy Road and Ga. 400 near the Sandy Springs MARTA station.

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