SHARE 2 COMMENTMORE

ATLANTA - If you've driven south on I-75 near Atlanta's airport recently, you may have noticed that an exit sign that used to be named for an American car maker, Henry Ford, has been changed to a German car maker.

The namePorsche now marks the exit where a Ford assembly plant stood for nearly 60 years until it was shut down in 2006.

PHOTOS| Porsche's models on sale in the US

On Tuesday Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed joined top Porsche officials to break ground for a replacement.

By the end of 2014, the German auto maker hopes to open a new $100-million U.S. headquarters along with a training center and a 1.6-mile test track for potential customers.

The new Porsche headquarters will mean 400 jobs, 100 of them new.

But more than that, it's a prestigious start to what many in the adjacent town of Hapeville hope will be the beginning of economic revival.

"With the economy, everybody's been waiting on somebody to pull the trigger and Porsche has made a tremendous commitment and they've pulled the trigger and we're very excited," Hapeville Mayor Alan Hallman told 11Alive News.

Many of Hapeville's businesses hope it will signal a return of income that vanished when the Ford plant folded.

"Hopefully it'll just help Hapeville out a whole lot, not only my business, but the other guys here that do have businesses," said radiator repair shop owner John Mitchell.

During the ground breaking ceremony, loud, low flying aircraft were a constant reminder of how the world's busiest airport was a huge drawing card right next to the Porsche headquarters site.

After pausing several times in his speech for a plane to land, Gov. Deal said, "that's just more people coming to Georgia to spend money and that's always good news."

SHARE 2 COMMENTMORE