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Mercedes to Atlanta

The year has just begun and this looks like a top story for economic developers, planners, college students, and public officials to study closely.

Mercedes-Benz is moving its US headquarters out of New Jersey and to Atlanta. Mercedes-Benz is expected to relocate or create 800 to 1,000 jobs in the region.

Stephen Cannon, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA shared some of the reasons behind the move. They are:
  • Connectivity- Mercedes will likely relocate along the GA 400 corridor, perhaps the most enterprising area in Atlanta and the metro area
  • Workforce- Atlanta's large number of "Gen Y" workers and technology talent
  • Quality of Life- "It gave us the most balance and diversity we can find."
On December 23, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and his Economic Development head met with Cannon and simply asked "What's it going to take?'" 

Cannon replied "Look, this isn't about us trying to chase the biggest pile of incentives, because that was not the driver. In fact, incentives, when you look at the whole picture, it's just a small piece. We're making a 50-year decision, and a pile of incentives in Year One, Year Two, or Three over a 50-year decision doesn't make a gigantic impact."

What that means is factors such as workforce, transportation, quality of life, and the cost of doing business outweighed the short-term impact of incentives in the Mercedes-Benz relocation. 

This means a community's assets are more stable and beneficial in the long run than an incentive package which expires over time.

These are revelations that economic developers should really think about.


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