Intercontinental Exchange wants to build a tunnel under New Northside Drive to link office buildings it owns on either side of the road.

Intercontinental, which owns the New York Stock Exchange, the Tokyo Stock Exchange and others, has its headquarters at 5660 New Northside Drive. They purchased the former ADP building at 5680 New Northside Drive last year, said Russell Rankenburg, vice president of projects for Jones Lang LaSalle.

“They are growing rapidly and want to stay in Sandy Springs,” he said. “They still have a lot of property available and want to expand their corporate campus. And part of that, which is very important to them, is to try to connect the two.”

The headquarters building houses 1,100 employees and can grow to approximately 1,600 workers. Across the street, approximately 130 people currently work there with the ability to grow to about 500 people.

Traffic coming off I-285 makes a crosswalk too dangerous at this location, Patrick Deveau, senior project development manager for Jones Lang LaSalle, told Sandy Springs City Council at its work session on April 4.

A bridge over the roadway would be problematic because topography and ADA requirements would make it prohibitively expensive and so long to be useless, he said.

A pedestrian tunnel was chosen, and Intercontinental needs to buy a right-of-way easement from the city so it can proceed. Plans are to route it away from underground utilities and beneath them.

“We’re hoping that we can get your consent before they spend a lot of money to design this and hopefully get it permitted, and work through the easement issues with you all,” Rankenburg said.

The project will take approximately six months to design and about the same amount of time to construct, Deveau said. The hand tunneling method of construction won’t require extensive road closures like other methods would require.

City Attorney Dan Lee said appraisers must determine what fair market value is.

“Finding a comparable to this is going to be very difficult,” he said.

“Intercontinental will need to follow the standard permitting process through the city after the purchase is completed,” Lee said.

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