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Sunday August 30th, 2015 5:58AM

The Weather Channel seeks tax breaks for expansion of its Ga. HQ

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) -- A significant investment is needed for The Weather Channel to remain at its current headquarters in suburban Atlanta, an executive said Tuesday.

The planned expansion is needed due for projected growth for the network, which has a corporate office park just northwest of Atlanta in Cobb County, said Shirley Powell, executive vice president of corporate communications.

"We continue to be happy doing business at our weather headquarters in Cobb County," Powell said in a statement to The Associated Press. "But given our future growth, to stay in our current location requires significant levels of investment."

Powell made the comments Tuesday, after The Marietta Daily Journal reported that The Weather Channel was seeking significant tax breaks for the expansion, such as grants and property tax exemptions.

The newspaper reported the expansion would include 200 to 300 employees at its headquarters, near the site where the Atlanta Braves plan to build a new stadium.

"As we are contemplating the investments that are needed, we are in discussions with Cobb County and the Chamber of Commerce on how they can support our growth and investments, as they do many other businesses," Powell said in the statement to AP.

Major components of The Weather Channel's future plans include studio expansion and a parking structure, since employee growth has created parking issues for employees, company officials said.

The expansion is being planned as the station prepares to welcome Sam Champion. The current "Good Morning America" weather anchor will leave ABC News to anchor The Weather Channel's new morning show, which is set to debut in early 2014, The Weather Channel announced last week.

Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee acknowledged the company faces challenges in staying in the county. Talks have been taking place for about six weeks and remain ongoing, he told the Marietta newspaper.

"I think there's always a potential when we're about to bring or lose a company the size of The Weather Channel . that we should do everything humanly possible to make sure we retain those companies including the possibility of offering retention grants," said Nelson Geter, executive director of the Development Authority of Cobb County.

Brooks Mathis, executive vice president of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, said that keeping The Weather Channel in Cobb County was crucial.

"All of these companies, like The Weather Channel, Home Depot, Atlanta Braves, GE, help tell our story because they're notable companies," Mathis said.
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