Photo by Jim Massara
Joseph Folz of Porsche Cars North America shows an artist’s rendering of the new headquarters facility to be built on the site of the old Ford assembly plant.
HAPEVILLE — Ground will be broken later this fall — and a major thoroughfare will have its name changed — when work begins on Porsche’s North American headquarters on the site of the old Ford assembly plant.
“This will be the most important location for Porsche on the planet,” said Joseph Folz of Porsche Cars North America, speaking Monday before an Airport Area Chamber of Commerce mixer. The United States is Porsche’s largest market.
Among the changes to come with the new Porsche facility will be re-naming Henry Ford II Avenue as Ferdinand Porsche Avenue.
“This project turned out to be the most difficult project that any of us have ever been involved in,” Folz said.
Because of its location near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the project required oversight from five jurisdictions and “having to go to the FAA for everything we wanted to do,” he said.
The good news, Folz added, was that “everybody’s answer to everything we have asked has been ‘yes.’ ”
Folz showed chamber members artists’ renderings of the modern new facility, which will include Porsche’s North American corporate headquarters as well as a test track dubbed the Porsche Driving Experience, part of which will pass through Clayton County.
“Our goal is going to be that coming to our new Porsche Experience Center is going to be the best thing anybody can do with a layover in Atlanta,” Folz said.
Porsche completed its purchase of property at the site of the former Ford Motor Co. assembly plant in Hapeville on June 21. Folz made a point of saying that there were no plans for Volkswagen to join Porsche on extra acreage that had been purchased, as had been rumored. He said that the acreage instead would be used to make the test track bigger and to make the main entrance to the facility “more dramatic.”
“There’s no present plan for anybody else to be moving in,” Folz said. “We want to make certain that we have preserved it for future growth. We want to be certain that we are controlling who are immediate neighbors will be.”
If all goes as planned, Folz said, the facility will be “substantially complete” by the end of 2013.
Before Folz’s presentation, Judge Pamela Everett of Riverdale swore in the chamber’s new officers: Dennis Martino, president; Kenneth Simon, first vice president; Rick Pelc, second vice president; Brian Kingston, third vice president; Lisa Walker, secretary; and Susan Joyce, treasurer.