Smyrna approves $185,950 fee waiver for UCB office expansion

Smyrna City Hall in article about Smynra small business grantsSmyrna City Hall (photo by Larry Felton Johnson, Licensed under Creative Commons 4.0)

During a virtual meeting, the Smyrna city council unanimously approved a $185,950 fee waiver tied to the expansion of pharmaceutical company UCB near the intersection of Windy Hill Road and Village Parkway.

Per the agreement, UCB will add 100 jobs to its U.S. headquarters, which has been located in Smyrna for the last 16 years, and spend $23.5 million to build 60,000 square feet of new office space.

“I think this is a great opportunity to expand one of the largest businesses in Smyrna, and I’m proud to have it in Ward 2,” said councilman Austin Wager, whose ward includes the property. “I’m excited for this project. We’re going to bring some more jobs in here and expand one of the businesses that we already have in Smyrna.”

The Belgium-based company focuses on research and development for treatments targeting diseases like epilepsy, Crohn’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. UCB employs 400 people at its current 110,000-square-foot facility on Lake Park Drive. Per city documents, it will take 26 months for the increase in property tax revenue to meet the fees being waived.

The new building will be both Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and WELL certified, the first facility in Georgia to achieve both standards, and according to city documents average pay of the additional jobs will reportedly be $100,000. Construction is expected to begin this summer and wrap up in summer or fall 2022. There will be no further incentives from Cobb County or the State of Georgia.

“We are recommending approval and would like to see you go ahead and move this forward,” said Smyrna Community Development Director Rusty Martin, who presented the proposal to the city council and noted that staff recommended approval.

Wagner moved for affirmation from the council, and the motion passed 7-0.

“What a great thing to have the first building in the state that’s double certified like that, and with everything we’re trying to do with environmental stewardship, this is a great addition to our city,” said Smyrna Mayor Derek Norton.

Haisten Willis is a freelance writer who lives in Smyrna with his wife, daughter and dog. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from California State University, Fresno, serves on the board of SPJ Georgia and even rides a bike when time allows.

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