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Macy's Gets Approval For Incentive Deal To Open Midtown Atlanta IT Hub

Macy's department store in New York City.

Even as the coronavirus decimates an already-struggling brick-and-mortar retail industry, Macy's is moving forward with a 630-worker IT hub in Midtown Atlanta, and gained a key approval Thursday morning.

The Invest Atlanta board of directors, meeting virtually, unanimously approved the use of Georgia's Regional Economic Business Assistance incentive program for Macy's technology office. The REBA program grants state funds to finance fixed-asset needs of companies, including real estate acquisitions, construction and machinery. According to the state program, a local development agency needs to apply on behalf of the company.

Macy's announced in February that it was consolidating its IT and operations from San Francisco into hubs in Atlanta and New York. Locally, the retailer leased space at Hines' newly built T3 West Midtown timber-framed office building at Atlantic Station, with the promise of creating 630 new jobs over the next five years. A Macy's spokesperson confirmed to Bisnow this week it was still planning on going forward with the office.

The retailer is expected to invest $14M in the economy, paying an average salary of $80K to $100K per new employee. Invest Atlanta projects its overall economic impact at $238M to the metro area, and Macy's presence in Midtown is expected to add more than $800K a year to Atlanta's tax roll.

Macy's was among the many major companies to furlough employees due to the coronavirus pandemic. While the retailer furloughed a majority of its 125,000 employees late last month, the spokesperson said its IT staff was trimmed less than in-store personnel.

“I think this is a great bright spot for us during this crisis,” Invest Atlanta Senior Vice President of Economic Development Nathan Regan said during Thursday's meeting. “They were looking at Dallas, Houston and consolidating everything in their tech headquarters in San Francisco.”

Bisnow couldn’t ascertain by press time the total dollar value of Macy's incentive package with the state, a deal known in economic development circles as Project Northstar. But the spokesperson said only net new hires would be counted for the incentives, not rehiring furloughed workers.