“The big announcement was General Motors [bringing] 1,000 new jobs at the old UPS site [in Roswell], and those are good, high-tech jobs,” said Brandon Beach, president and CEO of the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce. “Then we had Ernst and Young [announce] 600 new jobs. They’ve got their technology headquarters here in north Fulton. AirWatch [announced] 800 new jobs [in Sandy Springs]. Over in Johns Creek, Alcon has just made a huge investment … of about $160 million in new infrastructure, plant expansion and new assembly lines.
“When you look at those four wins there and then you top it off with Avalon, the new $600 million mixed-use development that’s under construction now [in Alpharetta] … that’s amazing. I tell people that there’s not another region in the country that’s having that kind of growth.”
Steve Stroud, executive director of Roswell Inc., also highlighted General Motors’ new information technology center as a highlight of the year.
“As of Dec. 1, [General Motors] had 490 [new employees] hired and working with plans of expanding that number to over 1,000,” he said. “It could be over 1,600 in the next two years.”
Stroud said Roswell Inc. helped to bring about 2,500 additional new jobs to Roswell not including the General Motors’ jobs. In the last six months, the city has approved more than 100 new business licenses, including home-based businesses, he said.
It was a big year for Roswell Inc. as the organization formerly known as the Roswell Business Alliance rebranded itself in October and changed its name. The revamp came just months after the city of Roswell contracted with the organization in July to develop a public-private partnership in which Roswell Inc. serves as the city’s economic development arm.
Stroud said he believes 2014 will be an even bigger year for Roswell. Beach also anticipates a year of growth for north Fulton.
“Avalon will open, probably in October,” Beach said. “The new city center in Alpharetta will open. Sandy Springs will start on their new downtown construction. We’ve got a lot of new growth for 2014.”
Richard Debban, president of the Alpharetta Business Association, said the leaders of his organization will be meeting in early January to discuss their plans for the new year. One of the association’s efforts has been to create a fun environment downtown.
“Some of the highlights [of 2013] are our events that we’ve had downtown — our Brew Moon Fest, our October Fest, our Art in the Park events [and] our farmer’s market,” he said. Debban said the association is not looking to add any new events next year but will focus on growing its events bigger and better than in the past.