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With BMW facility onboard, airport’s draw for new southside development continues

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College Park is slated to become the home of the BMW Technical Training Center

An aerial view of the facility, with the runways in the background.
The BMW facility will be built on the Georgia International Convention Center campus, officials announced this week.
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Luxury automobiles and airplanes are both expensive means of transportation, but beyond that, they have relatively little in common. Until recently, that is.

And now, another connection between the two is being forged on the southern side of Atlanta.

German automaker BMW is hoping to tap into Atlanta’s growing airport area with the announcement of a Technical Training Center in College Park. The development will rise on a 4.1-acre parcel at the Georgia International Convention Center, according to a press release issued this week.

The BMW facility joins a burgeoning campus accessible from the airport via the ATLSkytrain. Earlier this year, the new Renaissance Gateway Hotel opened, and work is underway to build an arena for the Hawks D League team nearby.

But BMW, of course, isn’t the first automaker to capitalize on the airport-adjacent location.

In 2015, Porsche North America unveiled their sleek headquarters building at the eastern end of Hartsfield-Jackson’s northernmost runway, affording those with deep pockets the opportunity to zip around in sports cars beneath the roar of jets.

The Porsche building has since spurred the development of a Solís Hotel, slated to open this year.

An angular glass and metal building rendered at night.
The Solís Hotel, with the Porshe test track adjacent.
HOK via ABC

While the plans for the BMW facility aren’t quite as sexy as Porshe’s test track-office building hybrid, the training center is expected to have a major economic impact, drawing as many as 10,000 BMW professionals to the facility annually for corporate training.

BMW’s decision will be “a great shot in the arm” for hotels in the area, predicted Air Realty Partner Rod Mullice, who recently developed College Park’s upscale apartment community, ThePad on Harvard, and is planning to build an Aloft Hotel next door.