Atlanta — House leaders on Monday announced they were closing their $6.7 billion headquarters, leaving the city with an empty office building.
The move was a major blow to the city’s struggling economy and came at a time when Atlanta is struggling to find more qualified employees for its workforce.
House Speaker Kasim Reed announced the decision to close the headquarters as the economy has slowed in recent years.
“As we look to the future, Atlanta needs the leadership of the state and local governments to lead,” Reed said in a statement.
The Atlanta City Council voted unanimously to approve the closure last month, a decision that is expected to save the city up to $2.4 billion in capital expenditures.
Reed said the city plans to use the funds for “building a new headquarters for the Atlanta Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, as well as other strategic investments.”
The Atlanta Economic Growth Council released a report last month that showed the city has a $4.5 billion deficit and needs to find $10 billion in state and federal money to fix the city.
Atlanta’s economy has been on the decline for the past several years, and the city saw a 2.6 percent drop in job creation in 2016.
That led to the loss of more than 2,400 jobs and more than $1.1 billion in economic losses.
The loss of the office building will leave roughly 6,000 people jobless, according to the Economic Development Partnership of Georgia, a business advocacy group.
The group said the office would be used to manage Atlanta’s existing budget, and would create jobs in the community.
It said it was disappointed in the decision, saying that the new location is “unlikely to help the city meet its growth goals.”
The city is working with the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Georgia Regional Development Authority to find a new office site.
The office is scheduled to close in the second quarter of 2021.