State Farm Opts for Atlanta Transit Over Sprawl

Massive new development in Atlanta will be walkable and convenient to transit. Image: Business Chronicle
State Farm’s massive new office and retail development in Atlanta will be right next to the train. Image: Business Chronicle

It was a major coup for the Atlanta region when State Farm announced yesterday locate one of its three national hubs there, a move that will bring 3,000 new jobs over the next 10 years. But what really makes this news interesting is that State Farm chose to put its new campus right next to a transit station.

The insurance giant will eventually house a total of 8,000 employees at a truly massive mixed-use development connected to a MARTA rail station. Developer KDC is planning a 2.2 million square-foot project at a 17-acre site by the Dunwoody MARTA station near Perimeter Mall. The development will include 585,000 square feet of office space for the initial lease to State Farm, which plans to expand, as well as 100,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space and a 200-room hotel, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

State Farm and KDC touted the transit connection in announcing the arrangement. “KDC is excited to continue our relationship with State Farm through the creation of a transit-oriented development in Dunwoody,” KDC’s Larry Wilson said in the press release. “This project will provide State Farm’s work force a continued platform for success with direct access to a true live-work-play environment and a MARTA station.”

Charlie Harper at Georgia politics blog Peach Pundit said the announcement gives Atlanta something to celebrate at a time when concerns about the regional economy have been growing:

State Farm is bringing the state 3,000 jobs. By choosing to develop a campus adjacent to an existing MARTA station, they’re likely bringing less than 3,000 new commuters for the region’s roads. Sounds like a win-win.

State Farm examined sites along major highways to the north of the city before settling on the Dunwoody location, according to the Business Chronicle. The company also houses its Dallas hub in an enormous mixed-use development.

  • Nikanator

    This location is at the junction of GA 400 and I-285. It’s a sprawly location out in the suburbs 6 miles from any urban area. The location is surrounded by shopping malls, strip malls, arterials, and a sea of parking that just happens to have a transit station. To be fair, they could’ve done worse than Dunwoody.

  • StefanieA

    Agreed. I’ve been out to and walked around this stop a number of times, day and night, and it is not that pleasant or easy to get around walking or biking. Sure, sidewalks (mostly) exist and there are even a few bike lanes nearby, but they’re largely inadequate in the face of the land use patterns, megawide streets, and huge parking lots… The first time I was here, I couldn’t figure out how to exit the station and get to a sidewalk without first navigating the attached parking garage.

  • I had that same problem! I’ve been to this MARTA station only once and I thought I was in the Twilight Zone because I couldn’t find an exit to the street. The whole station seems built to address the Perimeter Mall parking lot.

    Maybe this development will spur MARTA to make some changes with the station exits.

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