The nation’s top three bond rating agencies, Fitch Ratings, Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, reaffirmed Cobb County’s “Triple A” bond rating for the 19th consecutive year. These are the highest credit ratings available. The ratings are the result of the agencies' extensive review of Cobb’s financial operations and creditworthiness – including reviews of its financial management plans, adopted budgets and comprehensive annual financial report.
In November, major league soccer team Atlanta United announced it would locate its headquarters and practice fields in Marietta. The 32-acre site will feature a training complex with six soccer fields and a youth academy. This development will bring more than 80 new jobs, representing a more than $50 million investment by Atlanta United.
Since 2013 Cobb County has gained three major league sports teams – the Atlanta Braves, the Atlanta Blaze and Atlanta United. Major league lacrosse team the Atlanta Blaze is set to kick off its season in 2016 at Kennesaw State University’s Fifth Third Bank Stadium.
Through a partnership with the Development Authority of Cobb County and the City of Marietta, Home Depot established a new technology center located along Franklin Road in the New Market Office Park. Home Depot has leased the four-building campus that will initially house 1,000 information technology associates with plans to add another 500 positions. This center is needed to support the company’s growing online retail presence.
Construction has begun on Riverwood 200 an approximately 260,000 square foot, 12-story office building located in the Cumberland/Galleria area. The building valued at approximately $90 million has attracted companies such as Bennett Thrasher LLP a local account firm and Holder Construction, a well-known commercial construction company. This will be the first new class A office building built in this submarket since 2002 and when fully leased will house approximately 1,000 jobs.
The TPA Group has begun construction of a $48 million, 154,000 square foot, class A, seven story office building to be known as 1100 Overton and located at the intersection of Akers Mill Road and Cumberland Boulevard in the Cumberland/Galleria area. A portion of the building will be leased by Synovus and will allow the company to consolidate approximately 300 of its Atlanta based personnel, including Bank of North Georgia senior management team, Bank of North Georgia branch and Synovus specialty bankers and investment professionals.
Suncap Atlanta, LLC broke ground on the construction of an approximately $40.8 million, 303,000 square foot warehouse distribution facility to be leased by FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. located in south Cobb along Factory Shoals Road. This facility was needed to address over-capacity issues at a nearby FedEx Ground facility located in Ellenwood. Upon its completion FedEx Ground will install approximately $23 million in package handling equipment and will create about 300 jobs in the area.
In October, the Atlanta Braves announced that “The Battery Atlanta” will be the name of its mixed-use development adjacent to SunTrust Park. In addition, the Braves announced the first wave of restaurants that will be featured: Antico Pizza, Cru Food and Wine Bar, Tomahawk Taproom featuring Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q and Superica.
The Atlanta Braves are also teaming up with Live Nation to develop and operate a 53,000 square-foot entertainment venue at the mixed-use community adjacent to SunTrust Park. The venue will have the iconic Atlanta name – The Roxy Theatre. It will have a standing room only capacity of 4,000 and will feature approximately 40 music or comedy shows a year, mostly on non-game days. The space will also be used for private and special events throughout the year. Anchoring the southern end of the plaza will be the Omni Atlanta Hotel at SunTrust Park, which will feature approximately 260 guest rooms and suites, as well as a nine-story office tower, which will house more than 1,000 Comcast employees.
During 2015, the South Cobb Redevelopment Authority closed on the $3.7 million purchase of Magnolia Crossing Apartments on Six Flags Drive in Austell. The property was purchased using funds from the $10 million redevelopment bond approved by the Cobb County Board of Commissioners and South Cobb Redevelopment Authority in July 2015. SCRA intends to demolish the apartment complex and market the site to master developers to spur economic growth in the corridor.
Accounting firm Bennett Thrasher has called Cobb County home for 30 years and employs more than 90 people. They will soon move into a new 12 story, $100 million office tower being constructed in the Cumberland area. Riverwood 200 will be one of the first new office towers built in more than 10 years. Bennett Thrasher is a top accounting firm and eighth largest CPA firm in Atlanta.
In 2014, Cobb County had a total valuation of residential permits at $1,887,687 and commercial permits at $2,384,901 for a total permit valuation of $4,272,588. In 2015, the residential permit valuation saw an 11 percent increase to $2,087,694. The commercial permit valuations saw an increase of 134 percent to $5,582,095. Total permits valuations increased 80 percent to $7,669,789.
The budget adopted by the Board of Commission reduced the millage rate to 6.82 from 7.12 percent. It funded enhancements to public safety with the addition of 80 new police officers over two years as well as supporting shift differential and educational pay.
In support of Commissioner JoAnn Birrell’s “Keep it in Cobb” program, the Purchasing Department conducted two “How to do Business with Cobb County” seminars to encourage local business participation. The county partnered with the Cobb County School District on both seminars and the seminars were well received by the community. Approximately 50 local vendors attended each seminar.
In a joint effort with Commissioner Lisa Cupid, the county offered its first “Subcontractor Information Session.” This session focused on providing information to local construction contractors and provided information on county purchasing processes and ways to enhance business opportunities with the county both as a general contractor and subcontractor.
Each quarter, the Purchasing Department conducts a bid analysis program to provide a comparison of prices obtained through the competitive procurement processes. This process is performed to demonstrate the positive results obtained through competitive purchasing, but also is an indicator of the outstanding teamwork and collaboration that occurs between Purchasing and county departments. In 2015, the county realized more than $9.5 million in savings as a result of competitive procurement practices.
Through online auctioning of surplus county vehicles and heavy equipment items, the county received proceeds of $319,005. In 2015, the Purchasing Department reallocated surplus property equipment items with a total estimated value of $40,355 to other county departments.