I’ve received emails from some people who complain that there is no quality development at the site of the former GM Plant – now known as “Assembly” or “Assembly Yards.” While things have moved more slowly at Assembly than I would have liked, it’s not fair to say that there is no quality development happening.
In fact, the world headquarters of Serta Simmons Bedding (also known as “SSB,” the largest mattress manufacturer in the world!) is currently under construction at Assembly, and slated to open in 2019. I ride MARTA to work, and can see this development happening on a day-to-day basis from the platform of the Doraville station. It’s been very exciting. There are already 2 stories built, with more to come – the final facility will be 210,000 square feet and will house 500 employees on a 5-acre campus. This is a big company that believes in the city’s vision for that site – having them on board makes it more likely that other companies will decide to move here.
I was recently at a BisNow forum where Andy Barfield, a Vice President at Holder Properties (which is developing the SSB campus) spoke about the site selection process. They wanted to consolidate along the I-85 corridor, and liked Assembly because of its vision, its proximity to MARTA — and because it was one of the only sites in the area with that much contiguous space:
Barfield did refer to some challenges to an evolving master plan like the one at Assembly. Since the site is still under construction and there aren’t other large tenants, you are sometimes figuring out where roads and utilities are as you go:
Real Estate development projects are extremely expensive, and take a long time to get off the ground. Assembly is going to be “under construction” for some time. With that said, I think that Serta Simmons Bedding deciding to settle in Doraville is extremely good news, and a sign of momentum picking up for the project.