On a parcel of land located in south Atlanta, wedged between the eastern border of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and I-75, Porsche's new North American Headquarters is nearing completion.
Porsche's new facility has risen from what was formerly Ford's Hapeville Assembly plant, which churned out a steady stream of Ford Tauruses (Tauri?) and Mercury Sables until the plant was closed in 2006. The site was purchased by Jacoby Development in 2008 for $40.8 million.
The Ford plant was razed in early 2009 but the site remained empty for several years as plans for a hotel and mixed-use facility fell victim to the harsh economic realities of the recession and slow recovery of the late 2000's. The City of Atlanta considered acquiring a portion of the site for additional parking for the airport's new international terminal that opened in 2012, but ultimately chose another location.
Porsche purchased the property from Jacoby in June 2012 for $34.3 million, with plans to consolidate its current headquarters in Sandy Springs GA, a northern suburb of Atlanta, and its tech center just south of the airport. Shortly thereafter, the City of Atlanta renamed "Henry Ford II Avenue" to "Porsche Avenue", after rejecting the name "Ferdinand Porsche Avenue" due to Ferd's association with the Nazi Party in the 1930s.
The ground breaking for the new headquarters was held on November 27 2012, which your author attempted, unsuccessfully, to crash; this despite the brilliant disguise of a ball cap bearing the name of a national automotive publication and a large digital camera with lens that may have suggested that I was overcompensating for other shortcomings.
But I digress....
In the two years since groundbreaking, the site has morphed from a weed-choked asphalt plain, to a muddy pit in the Georgia clay, to finally the multi-level (and somewhat generic looking, IMO) steel and glass building pictured here.
Most of the building had been framed-out by early 2014, the glazing installed this past summer, and the Porsche signage put into position the week before Thanksgiving.
This first photo is taken from what will be the main entrance of the site, on Porsche Avenue. This is the best shot I was able to get without incurring the wrath of security.
These next two shots were taken on the western side of the site, facing the access ramps to I-75.
The construction of the test track appears to have begun, although trying to get a photo without risking life, limb or prosecution has proved to be a challenge. Aside from the test track, paving of the parking lot and landscaping, the building is pretty much complete.
Also visible on the facility is a large tent, so it appears that Porsche will be holding another ceremony of some sort in the near future.
The rear of the building is visible from I-75 north, and it is an interesting view, however trying to get a clear photo without getting run over has been difficult. I will attempt to get some later this week and will post here.
My office is less than two miles away from Porsche's new headquarters, and it has been interesting to watch the development of the site on a daily basis. It will be equally interesting to see the economic impact of our new neighbors on Hapeville and the surrounding communities which were hit hard by the closing of the Ford plant.
I can't wait to see Bratwurst und Sauerkraut on the menu next to the fried chicken and okra at the local 'meat and two-veg' restaurants.