by Geoff Smith
The sun came up and another company has decided to move its headquarters next to a MARTA station – what else is new?
Insight Global, a staffing company for Fortune 500 companies across the United States and Canada, has decided to move 800 employees into a new, 16-story building that will be built between Perimeter Mall and the Dunwoody MARTA station. There has been a lot of talk over the last year of plans to build a high-rise here on the eastern side of the station, now they have a tenant. State Farm is currently building the second of its four high-rises on its new campus across Hammond Drive from the Dunwoody MARTA station. Their first building includes a walkway over Hammond Drive to the station. And there is already talk of more high-rises that could go up along the western side of the MARTA station.
It has become common knowledge that most company executives believe that to stay competitive for the future workforce, they need to be located near mass transit. Every major corporate move to the Atlanta area has been at or near a MARTA station. Along with State Farm, Mercedes-Benz is building their North American headquarters down the street from the Sandy Springs MARTA station. NCR Corp. just moved its large headquarters from Duluth to intown Atlanta to be near mass transit.
According to a recent article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce President Hala Moddelmog said that the recent corporate relocations were in part, because of MARTA.
“They would not have come to this market if it had not been for MARTA,” she said.
As the Georgia General Assembly heads into session, transit and expansion of MARTA is something that will again be a hot topic. It has only been in the last couple of years that state legislatures have seen expansion of the system as an issue they need to be concerned with. With these large corporations citing MARTA as a reason for their move to Atlanta, it has become more acceptable for legislatures from outside of the Metro Atlanta area to be open to conversation about putting state money aside for MARTA expansion.
State Senator Brandon Beach, who chaired the Transportation Committee in the Senate last year, said one of the big issues this year will be to try to bring Gwinnett and Cobb Counties together with Fulton, Dekalb and Henry counties in funding MARTA. Gwinnett and Cobb both have their own transit systems independent of MARTA. Even though their systems drop riders off into the MARTA system, they do not help fund it. Being two of the most populated counties in the metro area, bringing them together with Fulton, Dekalb and Henry would be a huge plus for transit in Metro Atlanta.
Here in North Fulton, the debate continues about what an expansion of mass transit would look like. Many officials seem warm to the idea of expanding rail up to Holcomb Bridge Road. But there is little consensus to go further north than that. State Senator John Albers is preaching another concept: autonomous vehicles and buses. Rail expansion is expensive and would take 5 to 10 years to build. By that time, Albers says autonomous vehicles will be in use and residents will be more used to taking Uber and Lyft. Instead of spending the billions of dollars it would take for full-rail expansion, a fraction of that money could be used to install a state-of-the-art system of autonomous buses, he argues.
With NCR’s move intown, North Fulton officials are taking the issue of mass transit expansion in North Fulton serious. Fulton County officials are in the middle of putting together a comprehensive master plan for transit it North Fulton. Called the “Fulton County Transit Master Plan,” it will have recommendations for how North Fulton should move forward with transit improvements. They hired a consultant to put together several options for local officials and residents to consider.
The options will be presented on January 23 at the Atlanta Mariott in Alpharetta from 6 to 8 p.m.
Rates Jump on Tax Bill, Bond Market
Mortgage interest rates jumped Monday and Tuesday as investors sold off bonds to put money into stocks. When bonds are bought in low volume, or are not in demand, mortgage interest rates tend to rise. And they did – to their highest level in the last 6 months.
They could get another push upwards today if the numbers released for the Consumer Price Index rise. This would signal a rise in inflation – something economists and the governors at the Federal Reserve have been waiting to happen for several years now. Inflation has been the one sour spot in what has been viewed as an otherwise robust economy.
What this Means to You:
According to Mortgage News Daily’s Rate Survey, best execution rates for a conventional 30-year fixed are at 4.14%.