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Gulch Surprise: Tenant Isn't Amazon!

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CIM Group
Renderings of the plaza level of CIM's planned Gulch redevelopment in Downtown Atlanta

There is a potential major tenant targeting CIM Group's massive Gulch redevelopment. But a certain online giant from Seattle is not the mystery company.

An unnamed Fortune 500 company is considering a headquarters move to Atlanta, with the Gulch being its primary site, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported, citing anonymous sources.

“There's a prospect in play,” Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal's chief of staff, Chris Riley, told an audience at the Rotary Club of Atlanta earlier this week, the ABC reports. Riley did say it was not Amazon, according to the paper.

That may be a shock for many in Atlanta as Los Angeles-based CIM had been quietly working with city and state leaders to entitle and finance the swath of parking lots and undeveloped land in Downtown Atlanta to forge ahead with a $5B project that could involve more than 9M SF of office, 1M SF of retail, 2,100 apartment units and 1,500 hotel rooms.

Those metrics were a near perfect fit for Amazon's wish list for its second headquarters project. According to Amazon's request for proposals, the firm was seeking up to 8M SF of office in an urban setting near a major airport. The race for HQ2 is now down to 20 regions, including Metro Atlanta.

It has been widely believed that the Gulch was being positioned for Amazon's second headquarters project if the online retail giant announces the city as the winner of the economic development beauty pageant. CIM also is seeking a $900M incentive package funded in part by a newly created enterprise zone, which would amount to the largest public assistance development project in Atlanta's history.

“We now have 20 good prospects, each of them going to bring an average of 850 new jobs to our state,” Deal told Rotary Club members. The unnamed company eyeing the Gulch could bring with it at least 600 new jobs, the ABC reports.