The Sandy Springs City Council approved an economic incentive plan worth as much as $255,000 for Deluxe, a financial services company considering a 172,000-square-foot space to locate an office that would employ up to 709 people in three years. 

The average salary for employees was listed at $91,500 in the tax incentive application.

The publicly traded company anticipates spending approximately $10.2 million in building out the location it selects and another $2.4 million on furniture, equipment and fixtures, said Andrea Worthy, the city’s economic development director. If Deluxe picks the city, the buildout would start this summer and occupy the offices later this year or early in 2021.

The company was conducting its location search under a code name picked by Georgia’s Economic Development department, “Project Painted Lady.” Deluxe agreed to disclose their identity publicly for the city, Mayor Rusty Paul said.

“We are not at liberty to disclose what location they are looking at in Sandy Springs,” Worthy said.

The buildout would include a technology innovation center, a back office/shared service center and other functions. The Shoreview, Minnesota-based company is in its final stages of due diligence in scoring all locations, Worthy said. It hopes to make its decision in the next 30 to 60 days.

Best known for its history of printing paper checks, Deluxe branched out into the financial technical services industry.

The city had to hold a public hearing to follow its Economic Development Incentive Policy for the request filed July 22 for the waiver of building permit fees and business occupational taxes for tenant build out of an existing office building.

If Deluxe picks the Sandy Springs location and commits to staying at least six years under a lease, they qualify for a tier 2 incentive package that includes expedited permitting, waiver of building fees and two years of business occupational tax waivers worth an estimated $180,000, she said. If Deluxe signs a lease of at least 10 years, they would receive another year’s business occupational tax waiver bringing the city’s incentive package up to $255,000.

The innovation center would bring one or two customers to the center weekly for collaboration and education about products. Each customer group would include 3 to 15 people. Worthy said that could create between 1,000 and 6,000 room-nights each year at area hotels.

“The purpose of this center will be to assist our customers in a trusted environment with finding solutions to their FinTec problems in interactive and collaborative week-long sessions,” Deluxe said in its application for tax incentives.

As councilmembers began to ask about the proposed location, what cities inside and outside of Georgia are the competition and other details, Mayor Rusty Paul asked them to respect the confidentiality. He said Deluxe needs to make its decision and then discuss it with the company’s stakeholders and employees before it becomes public.

Deluxe said on its website that it supplies financial institutions, small business and enterprises with technology-enabled solutions that include payroll services, remote deposit capture, integrated receivables, web marketing and proprietary marketing programs for banks, and checks, which trace back to the company’s founding.

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Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.