Chris Carr, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, grew up in Dunwoody and still lives there. On Aug. 12, he took the podium at The Retreat at the Summit in Brookhaven and told about 170 members of the Dunwoody and Sandy Springs chambers of commerce that state officials view tourism, filmmaking and the arts as ways to attract future investment to the state.
After the talk, Reporter Newspapers asked Carr three questions about how he sees the Perimeter Center area’s future development. Here are his answers.
What do you see as the role of the Perimeter center area in terms of the development of the state?
The Perimeter center area is key to the development of the state. Whether it is a small business or Fortune 500 company – this area offers businesses ease of access with Georgia’s robust logistics infrastructure including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, a highly-skilled workforce, a business-friendly environment offering resources such as comprehensive corporate incentives and job tax credits, and much more.
What sorts of businesses do you think will be attracted to the Perimeter area in the future?
Recent announcements in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs have ranged from software/technology, digital media, bioscience, a call center and a few headquarter relocations.
I expect that we will see the same type of businesses relocating or expanding in this area. We also expect to see retail and commercial businesses thrive in this area due to all of the new jobs and new businesses moving to this area.
The Perimeter area has also been successful in attracting television and film entertainment projects.
It is also important to note that Perimeter center hotel occupancy is the fastest growing in Atlanta metro, with RevPAR (revenue per available room) growing more than 25 percent in 2013. The increase in visitors, whether it is the leisure or business traveler, is having a significant impact in this area whether it is direct, indirect or induced spending.
You mentioned in your talk that you are hearing more about traffic congestion as an issue in development. Do you think the congestion around the Ga. 400/I-285 interchange slows development in the area?
We have a great transportation network in Georgia. In fact, CNBC recently ranked us No. 1 for infrastructure with the world’s busiest airport and one of its busiest ports.
The topic of congestion has come up, but has not been an issue with new businesses coming to this area. Traffic is not something that is unique to Georgia or the metro Atlanta area.
The fact that Sandy Springs and Dunwoody have seen significant growth over the last few years tells us that it hasn’t slowed down growth – our logistics infrastructure, business resources, skilled workforce and pro-business environment are top of mind for site selectors and new businesses considering relocating in Georgia.