ROSWELL, Ga. – Roswell Mayor Jere Wood said he got his Christmas present early when word came that General Motors bought the 228,000-square-foot UPS building at Mansell Road and Warsaw Road to house a new division that will develop a range of technological improvements for its cars.
The UPS building (formerly the Herman Miller manufacturing plant) had been an information technology facility for the company until the operation was shut down in 2009.
Published reports say the Roswell site will be one of four technology innovation centers to create new GM technologies rather than depend on outside sources for vehicle technology, such as improved GPS systems and safety features.
“I was pleased, to say the least. This will mean a lot to the city – for our local businesses, for our local realtors and for the entire community,” Wood said. “I believe this is only the beginning for Roswell. I expect 2013 to be a year of new opportunities for the city, and this is just the first.”
Although GM is not commenting – a formal announcement is expected after New Year’s once details are completed – Roswell was apparently one of several cities along the Eastern seaboard under consideration for the deal.
“The GM purchase of the facility off Mansell Road demonstrates North Fulton and Roswell’s position as the leading Southeast hub for corporate business and lifestyle,” Wood said.
One of the key components of the deal was Roswell’s Opportunity Zones, which had been expanded this year to include the UPS property.
Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Brandon Beach said the state has allowed the creation of Opportunity Zones to stimulate business growth in depressed areas. For each new job created in one of these zones, the company receives a $3,500 tax credit for five years. For GM, the tax break means $3.5 million for five years, or $17.5 million.
Beach also pointed out these businesses receive the payroll tax holiday for 10 years. So for each incremental new employee, those new positions will incur additional tax breaks also of a five-year duration.
So the businesses they attract will also have incentives to stay as they grow.
“These are high-tech, high-paying jobs,” said Beach. “The effect of these jobs will ripple throughout North Fulton communities. If an executive wants an equestrian lifestyle, there is Milton. If he wants a golf community for his family, there are Country Club of the South, Windward or The Manor.
“One thousand jobs is a big win,” Beach said. “North Fulton is poised to lead the region out of the recession. When you add the quality education offered here, the infrastructure and fiber-optic capabilities for high-tech and information technology usages, the talent pool and the quality of life here, it is incredibly strong.
“We are poised for success in 2013,” Beach said.