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Revealed: Norfolk Southern's Upcoming Midtown Atlanta Headquarters

Rendering of Cousins Properties' planned Norfolk Southern headquarters in Midtown

Days after the city's economic development arm approved more than $20M in property tax breaks, the developer of Norfolk Southern's new Midtown headquarters has unveiled its vision of the project to area planners.

Cousins Properties met with the Midtown Development Review Committee Tuesday evening to share images of its $575M project at a site known as Ponce & 3rd, where the developer plans to build a dual, 22-story glass office tower project for the railroad operating giant. The project is set to include a 141K SF technology center and day care facility as well as a seven-story, 2,000-space parking deck, according to Midtown Alliance information. In economic development circles, the development is known as "Project Fusion."

The land was owned by a collection of local owners, including the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta. Chicago-based CA Ventures also is developing a 715-bed student housing tower on the site for students at Georgia Tech.

The renderings are the latest pieces falling into place in the long and winding road to get Norfolk Southern to officially move its headquarters to Atlanta from Virginia, a deal that Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal was expected to announce Wednesday afternoon.

Rendering for Cousins Properties' twin-tower Norfolk Southern headquarters in Midtown

Key to getting the railway giant to move here was the sale of its portion of the Gulch property to CIM Group. That contentious deal was tied up in a sweeping incentive package by the city of Atlanta that saw an outpouring of opposition by some local leaders and neighborhood activists. The incentives were approved last month by the city council.

But the opposition, under the moniker “Redlight The Gulch,” has filed an objection in the Fulton County Superior Court, with a hearing slated for Dec. 19, on the legality of the bonds. Under the current incentive deal, CIM is able to collect 5 cents of the local 8.9-cent sales tax generated within the Gulch development through 2048 to help pay for the infrastructure costs, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Additional funding would come from future property taxes as well as proceeds from the Westside Tax Allocation District.

Among Redlight's arguments against the bond package is the contention that 15 years of future school taxes have been improperly added to the incentives without Atlanta Public School board approval, the AJC reported.