State Farm Announces Major Transit Oriented Development; New Jobs

Finalizing what has been rumored for months, State Farm announced this morning that it will build a campus just West of Perimeter Mall, adjacent  to the Dunwoody MARTA station.  The project will house 8,000 employees, including 3,000 new positions for Georgia.  It’s a sign that job growth and renewed interest in development has returned to the Atlanta area.

The project will occupy 17 acres owned and developed by KDC Real Estate Development & Investments and leased to State Farm.  The initial buildings will break ground this summer and occupy four acres, with the remaining build-out occurring over the next decade.  The total development plan includes 2.2 Million square feet of office space, 100,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, and entertainment space, and a 200 room hotel.

KDC’s Larry Wilson said via press release, “KDC is excited to continue our relationship with State Farm through the creation of a transit oriented development in Dunwoody. This project will provide State Farm’s work force a continued platform for success with direct access to a true live-work-play environment and a MARTA station.”

Access to MARTA is both something companies in congested areas value, as well as something the transit authority is now promoting.  Expanding transit further toward homes and businesses is expensive.  Creating office space and residential housing around existing MARTA stations is a quicker and much cheaper alternative to booting ridership and reducing the number of cars on the regions roads.

MARTA recently announced a development for the area around the King Center station, choosing Walton Communities to build 386 apartments according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.  From the same article:

“In 2012, MARTA identified at least 10 train stations as potential magnets for new mixed-use developments. MARTA hoped it could generate millions in additional revenue and ignite revitalization efforts around the stations.

The idea came as more developers showed interest in considering mixed-use projects near existing transit stations.

MARTA has undertaken similar efforts before, though its planners say not to this level.

It worked with the former BellSouth (now AT&T) and the developer Carter, for example, at Buckhead’s Lindbergh Center.”

State Farm is bringing the state 3,000 jobs.  By choosing to develop a campus adjacent to an existing MARTA station, they’re likely bringing less than 3,000 new commuters for the region’s roads.  Sounds like a win-win.




  1. notsplost says:

    It’s only a “win-win” if those new employees all choose to live downtown/midtown or somewhere close to existing bus service/mass transit for their housing.

    If they buy a McMansion out in Cobb or Gwinnett, it’s another car on the road during rush hour or the next snowjam.

    It’s wise of MARTA to promote this, but without closing the loop it’s just marketing hoopla.

  2. I think MARTA supporters have to do a better job of selling the benefits of expansion as you may not ever use this but the people that do use it make your commute better. Depends on who State Farm is looking to attract, but a lot of high valued employees in theory want to live in/downtown and ride MARTA to their job whether it is also in downtown or at the perimeter.

  3. bgsmallz says:

    The Perimeter area continues to urbanize with dense office, retail, and housing (apartments/condos). But who is actually using Marta to commute to Perimeter is a solid question. So is ‘who will use it’? I take Marta somewhat regularly from the area during rush hour. The largest contingent of folks taking the train to work in the area seem to be those at the hospitals, those who work in the mall, and a small contingent of young professionals.

    “Expanding transit further toward homes and businesses is expensive.” <—correct. But does being expensive now equate to not being a worthwhile pursuit? We have to expand transit in order to have these types of developments really pay off in terms of transit ridership.

    Marta CEO, Keith Parker, last week spoke of expansion to North Fulton, the 1-20 corridor, and a Decatur to Lindbergh (Emory) line…expansion of rail is hopefully on its way. I'm hoping moves like this one by State Farm to develop around transit pushes folks in Cobb and Gwinnett to ask why they can't be a part of rail expansion, too.

          • bgsmallz says:

            Pretty sure Harry doesn’t speak for the entire county…

            Interestingly you could extend the line from Doraville all the way to Suwanee without ever running in unincorporated Gwinnett assuming you used the Buford Hwy corridor rather than just running it along I-85. This would probably be better in that towns like Norcross, Duluth, etc. would be able to continue to develop walkable town and community centers while also having access for commuting.

            If you change the law so that municipalities could join Marta without county blessing, I think you would see Marta into Gwinnett. Then you just charge a ‘resident’ rate and a non-resident rate to others in Gwinnett until the rest of the county decides they want to be taxed.

            (as long as I’m daydreaming…logically you run a line from Doraville to Georgetown/Dunwoody(an emerging Walk Up) to Perimeter to the downtown Sandy Springs Project to ..the Braves stadium….but why would we want our major employers, residential areas, emerging Walk Ups, and major entertainment venues to all be logically and reliably connected?)

              • bgsmallz says:

                Can you please just start using the avatar ‘north DeKalb troll’ when you type things like that? I give Harry some slack because he doesn’t seem to know what Google is….

                #1- Dunwoody has a trails plan that links all their neighborhoods. Page 31.

                #2- The greenways that you are referring to which were removed from the plan:

                “But the plan was poorly received by residents when they learned Dunwoody would need to take land from about 100 properties to make it work. City officials said they were willing to negotiate with residents, while opponents feared the city might resort to eminent domain to seize the land.”

                So troll comment = Dumb, dumb Dunwoody hates trails because of crime and they are so dumb. Ha ha ha.

                Real answer: Dunwoody proposed a trail across the private property of 100 residents without talking to the property owners before the proposal. No public input. No private discussion. Just a map with a line across your backyard. (But why were they so angry? <-sarcasm)

                I get it that you may have an ax to grind with north DeKalb cities…the push poll your consulting group did for the pink pony is a masterful work of ammo for all the anti-Brookhaven trolls…but let't try to keep our personal comments accurate…save the malarkey for the professional politicking work.

              • bgsmallz says:

                BTW- I think it’s safe to say Brookhaven, Dunwoody, and Sandy Springs are key in transit expansion from a funding, job location, and voting perspective. The cynic might say ‘those areas clearly don’t want to be regional because they voted for cityhood’…but when you actually look at the votes on Brookhaven and T-Splost (they were the same day, after all)…you get a different picture of an area that wants local control but also wants regional cooperation on transportation and transit.

                Just worth pointing out that getting a regional solution on transportation or transit is going to require working with people that vote differently than you or I…figured that was understood, but not sure after seeing a knee-jerk return to stereotypes.

    • Ghost of William F. Buckley says:

      Visualize a work-force that has always preferred public transportation; eschews private auto ownership; and seeks ‘up’ as in an urban highrise for choice of residence. I have heard these folks called ‘little M&Ms,’ or something like that.

      Last March we heard a large employer publicly recognize the VALUE of MARTA:

      “David Dabbiere, CEO of Airwatch, called MARTA a secret weapon for the mobility technology and security firm…” – h/t Dunwoody Patch, link below.

      The new State Farm hub will connect to MARTA. +/- 3,000 new employees will most likely be milli’s — the one’s that will be working here.

      Currently, Perimeter Center Improvement District (PCID), capably lead by Yvonne Williams, helped organize and coordinates operation of a MARTA shuttle. This means PCID helped resolve the critical ‘last mile’ to the office door issue felt by most transit users.

      Nice write-up, Charles, like, you are a good neighbor, man.

    • Rich says:

      A win-win would be if the jobs AND the housing were in Atlanta. A backwards commute that lasts an hour, away from five points into suburbia, is the wrong direction. There’s no shortage of underdeveloped property near stations inside the perimeter.

      • Will Durant says:

        At the risk of repeating myself I will point out the obvious once again. Until something is done to Atlanta Public Schools the only people who can afford to live there are DINKs or those who are wealthy enough to pay for private schools if they do have kids.

        That being said, given the logistics of using MARTA as it currently exists and the history of that area when I worked near the king & queen, I suspect this will add ~7900 more vehicles to the northern arc of 285 and 400 despite its proximity to the station.

        • Ghost of William F. Buckley says:

          ~7,900 is precise, Will Durant, care to expackulate on how you derived that vehicle count?

          As to the more important point, APS – The employees we will see in the area may very well be more DINK-ish or high earners. New ‘executive homes’ in the area support this conclusion.

          This is not Daddy’s Dunwoody anymore, we sell growlers, he’ah!

          • Will Durant says:

            ” The project will house 8,000 employees…”

            I’m giving credit for at least 75 that will car pool. This cynical outlook is based solely on my own experience in a former life dealing with the relocation of a company from the office tower in Buckhead sitting on top of the Lenox MARTA station to a building one block west of the Perimeter station. Out of 250 employees we had 2 riding the train before and only 1 after the move.

            My comment regarding APS was concerning Rich bemoaning the location in “suburbia” vs the ghost town that is now Five Points or other “underdeveloped property near stations inside the perimeter”. And unless State Farm has greatly changed in the time I worked with them as an IT out sourcer I seriously doubt a high percentage of those 8,000 will be able to afford “executive homes” in Dunwoody.

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