Starbucks plans to open a major office in Atlanta with 500 new jobs, a decision seen as a major victory by city and state officials trying to woo another iconic Seattle-based company to plant roots in Georgia.
The coffee giant has scouted Atlanta for months is expected to announce the deal Wednesday to open an operations center after a vote by Atlanta's economic development arm. The city beat out several other competitors for the new hub.
Starbucks plans to invest $16 million in a 85,000-square-foot facility. Invest Atlanta will grant the company up to $250,000 toward the business expansion, which is expected to have a $190 million economic impact. State incentives will also likely significantly increase the overall package.
The company's decision comes as state and metro Atlanta leaders sharpen their pitch to fellow Seattle giant Amazon, which has Atlanta on its shortlist of 20 communities for its mammoth second headquarters campus and 50,000 promised jobs.
The state has led the negotiations for the so-called HQ2 project from the get-go, an Olympics-like chase for the biggest economic development deal in a generation.
Georgia's bid, shrouded in secrecy under state law, is believed to top $1 billion, including tax breaks, training programs and transportation improvements. And Gov. Nathan Deal has pledged to call a special session if Amazon lists Atlanta as a top finalist for the $5 billion campus.
State officials will likely try to leverage Wednesday’s news to send an implicit message: If Atlanta is good enough for Starbucks, it’s good enough for Amazon.
Starbucks picked a booming Midtown Atlanta market for the new site.
Anthem and developer Portman broke ground this year on a new skyscraper for the health insurer’s technology hub near Technology Square. Accenture, Honeywell and NCR recently announced expansions.
And Pandora Media, the music streaming company, this month picked a 21-story Midtown tower for a 250-job expansion.
Starbucks has Atlanta ties that extend far beyond its network of coffee shops. The company acquired tea merchant Teavana for $620 million in 2012. Though Starbucks continues to sell Teavana’s teas in its stores, Starbucks announced last year it would close all Teavana locations.
Starbucks also has Atlanta ties within its executive ranks. Rosalind Brewer, the company’s chief operating officer and group president, is a Spelman College graduate with deep roots in the region.
Credit: Ben Hendren for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com