The Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce is drumming up support for Mercedes-Benz USA’s controversial proposal to rename a city street for itself.
MBUSA aims to rename part of Barfield Road, where its new corporate headquarters is under construction. The name change would also affect a Mormon temple, which objects on the grounds that a luxury carmaker’s brand has no place on the address of a site devoted to Christian anti-materialism. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints plan to oppose the renaming at a March 7 City Council hearing.
In a March 1 email, Chamber President and CEO Tom Mahaffey urged members to support to the renaming and offered to provide “talking points” to counter the church’s objections. He noted that the name change affects only part of the street and said it’s worth doing for Sandy Springs’ own branding.
“By changing the name gives Sandy Springs global identity, as they market their products,” Mahaffey wrote. “Mercedes Drive makes the city sound more professional. Who wouldn’t want to have an address on Mercedes Dr[ive]?”
“There will be opposition from the Mormon church members (most do not live in Sandy Springs) not to change the name…,” Mahaffey wrote. But, he noted, the church’s property extends to Glenridge Drive, a street parallel to Barfield, and he suggests the temple simply change its address to that other street.
The LDS church operates two distinct facilities on the property. One is a meetinghouse, or typical church, fronting on Glenridge. The other, fronting on Barfield, is the Atlanta Georgia Temple, one of the religion’s holiest sites in the world, open only to certain church members or for special ceremonies like weddings.
Mahaffey said he is not aware of other organizations or officials that might be supporting the renaming.