Total System Services Inc.'s plans for a new $100 million campus are moving ahead after the resolution of a dispute with historic-preservation officials.
Columbus, Ga.-based Total System, one of the world's largest card processing companies, finally broke ground on its 46-acre campus last week, nearly a month later than originally planned.
The delay was caused by objections from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The group wanted Total System to save two abandoned textile mills on the site of the proposed campus. But Total System officials refused, declaring the mills did not fit in with their plans.
After many months of wrangling, the parties reached agreement last week when historic-preservation officials signed off on Total System's plans. The mills in question are being demolished as planned.
Neither National Trust officials nor Total System officials could be reached for comment.
Mark Edwards, director of Georgia's historic-preservation division, and the go-between in negotiations, said the agreement recognizes the inability of Total System to incorporate the mills into its project. But the agreement provides for historic-preservation officials to oversee construction design and to gather and record archaeological findings that will be used for educational purposes, said Mr. Edwards.
Total System, whose majority owner is $9 billion-asset Synovus Financial Corp., handles more than 89 million cardholder accounts for financial institutions throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico. Total System said it needs the new campus to consolidate workers now spread through several office buildings and to accommodate growth that includes 2,000 planned new hires over the next few years, company officials said.
In addition to being a significant expansion for the card processing company, the project is seen as a major economic development initiative by local and state officials in Georgia.
The state is providing tax breaks and job training benefits to Total System, and expects the project to provide in return $3.7 billion in positive economic spinoff over the next five years.
The fast-growing company was wooed by many different localities throughout the southeast, including a last-minute bid by Alabama during Total System's discussions with the historic-preservation officials.