A Fortune 500-to-be company recently decided to move its headquarters to Sandy Springs from Gwinnett County because of the availability of transit. Veritiv is a new company formed by a merger between an International Paper spinoff and Norcross based Unisource. It distributes paper goods and packaging, at a volume that makes it likely to enter the Fortune 500 when the index is updated in the spring.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle tells the tale of why the company chose to relocate to Northpark Town Center:
Northpark is one of the large Perimeter office developments built next to MARTA. That proved to be a difference maker for Veritiv, whose employees travel across the country and wanted transit access from the Perimeter to Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Veritiv will move 125 to 150 executives and corporate support personnel to Sandy Springs by as early as next spring.
It’s not the first time a major company has chosen to locate next to transit. An economic development official we spoke with could recall at least three other major companies that decided not to relocate to his county because of the lack of transit options.
Companies aren’t the only ones that look at the availability of transit when deciding where to locate. Increasingly, Millennials are ditching their automobiles for trains and public transportation.
When asked about transportation options, such as public transportation, car- and bike-sharing services, and pedestrian friendly streets, 80% of Millennials say it’s important to have a wide range of options, and over half of Millennials surveyed (54%) would consider moving to another city if it offered a wider, better range of options for getting around.
“These findings confirm what we have heard from the business and elected leaders we work with across the country,” said James Corless, director of Transportation for America. “The talented young workforce that every region is trying to recruit expects to live in places where they can find walkable neighborhoods with convenient access to public transportation. Providing those travel and living options will be the key to future economic success.”
Last Friday, Charlie and I did our weekly Peach Pundit Radio broadcast on WGST from Alpharetta’s Avalon. It’s a live-work-play community just off of Georgia 400 at Old Milton Parkway. We were joined by Peach Pundit intern Will Kremer, who admitted he would very much like to live there — if it had transit that would offer reliable connectivity to downtown.
A sluggish economy and a lack of jobs is one of the top concerns people have when they are asked which issues are most important to them. In the 21st century, companies are required to move to where the workforce they want to employ lives. In many cases, the desired workforce is young and well-educated. And right now, Atlanta doesn’t appear to be one of the cities in which many of these millennials choose to live.