Updated: Norfolk Southern to expand in Midtown Atlanta

Railroad giant Norfolk Southern plans to relocate 253 workers from Virginia to its Midtown Atlanta office tower, according to documents from the city of Atlanta’s development arm.

The board of Invest Atlanta on Thursday will consider a complicated lease-purchase bond arrangement that will involve a property tax break for Norfolk Southern, an inducement to locate the jobs in the city.

The Invest Atlanta documents describe a $75 million bond transaction. The deal between the city and Norfolk Southern does not involve actual bond financing, but acts instead as a legal mechanism to convey tax incentives. Under the proposed deal, Invest Atlanta would control the property for 10 years and lease it back to the railroad company.

Norfolk Southern plans to renovate its facilities to accommodate the new workers and improve building efficiency, the documents said. The new jobs are expected to have an average wage of $86,000.

Norfolk Southern spokesman Rick Harris said the move is part of a previously announced transition of workers from a facility in Roanoke, Va., and the jobs are mainly back office positions, such as information technology, payroll and accounting, audit and compliance.

“That is well underway,” Harris said of the transition. “A good number of those people have already moved here.”

The documents said the company’s expansion will bring $581,247 per year in new taxes to the city, and $810,961 per year in new revenue for Fulton County. The value of the expected tax break, if approved by the Invest Atlanta board and City Council, was not immediately available.

Norfolk Southern has about 2,400 employees in Atlanta, the documents said.

About the Author