Mercedes-Benz USA got major press attention with its March 15 grand opening of its corporate headquarters in Sandy Springs. Meanwhile, the old headquarters the luxury automaker left behind in Montvale, N.J., is a major redevelopment site, too.

Along with adjacent properties, the New Jersey site is becoming a massive mixed-use, mixed-income project.

Mike Ghassali, mayor of Montvale, N.J. (Special)

“We are very excited about it, as this section of town will become the new downtown for us,” Montvale Mayor Mike Ghassali said in an email.

According to media reports, the development will help Montvale fulfill a state requirement to have a certain amount of affordable housing. The concepts have similarities to what the city of Sandy Springs is attempting with its City Springs downtown project and a push for north end redevelopment.

In the wake of MBUSA’s loss, Montvale has developed an effective corporate retention program, according to media reports.

Montvale was stung by MBUSA leaving. Along with losing jobs and corporate donations, Montvale was left in the awkward situation of the town hall having a mailing address on the company’s locally branded street there, Mercedes Drive. Ghassali previously said the town would wipe out that street name. But now he says the city is holding off the renaming with business retention in mind.

The new Mercedes-Benz USA headquarters in Sandy Springs during the March 15 grand opening. (Kate Awtrey)

“As for naming the street, we decided to keep it [Mercedes Drive] because there is a least one major corporation on this road and it would negatively affect their global business,” Ghassali said. “Their customers may think that they moved, so at least for now, the name is staying.”

A similar street-branding exercise at the new Sandy Springs headquarters was controversial, with a proposal that would have placed the luxury automaker’s name on a neighboring Mormon temple’s address. In a compromise, the city agreed to rename a short stretch of Barfield Road, directly outside the headquarters, as “Mercedes-Benz Drive.”

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.