AutoTrader moving to area

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 8:40 AM EDT

The Dunwoody Crier
By Rebecca Chase Williams

AutoTrader.com, the online automobile classified ad company, signed a letter of intent to lease the 18-story office tower at 3003 Perimeter Summit. The fast-growing online automobile classified ad company has been looking for space for several years in an effort to consolidate its 1,200 employees who currently are spread out in five different office buildings in the Perimeter area.

“It just makes sense to be in the same place,” said AutoTrader.com spokesman, Mark Scott. “We’re very excited to be together because that’s what we’ve been trying to accomplish for several years. There’re a lot of inefficiencies in being in multiple locations. This definitely creates more synergy and increases our ability to work as a team.”

Perimeter Summit was attractive since it is only a block and a half from most of the current AutoTrader offices and has access to MARTA.

“Twenty percent of our employees use MARTA, so that was a big consideration,” said Scott.

The lease for the 350,000 sq. ft. of office space would be the largest lease in recent history at Perimeter Center. The 3003 building is the tower closest to Villa Christina and will soon be vacant. AutoTrader plans to occupy the entire building.

AutoTrader.com has been a fast-growing company since it was founded in 1997 and the company said it has grown 20 percent a year for the last five years. Even though business this year is described as “flat,” the company is optimistic that its healthy growth will resume once the economy picks up. The move will also consolidate the latest additions to the company, AutoTrader Classics and AutoTrader Latino.

Last year Cox Enterprises proposed building its own 28-story office town on its Lake Hearn Drive property with the goal of consolidating the AutoTrader employees. That plan was later withdrawn as the economy weakened. In a statement Monday, Cox Enterprises said it explored options to build a new structure for AutoTrader.com.

“However we found an attractive alternative in the 3003 Perimeter Summit building which meets our primary goal of consolidating AutoTrader.com employees in one location which provides alterntive transporation options via Marta,” the company said.