Marietta is a large city and the county seat of Cobb County, Georgia. Marietta is also part of the Atlanta metropolitan area. It is known for offering high quality of life to its residents, and a lot of sources say it’s one of the best places to live in the state.
Marietta has an excellent school system. In fact, the Cobb County School District is one of the city’s top employers, and Cobb is the most educated county in Georgia. Marietta is also home to several institutions of higher education: Southern Polytechnic State University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and the Marietta campus of Chattahoochee Technical College.
Kool Smiles, a dental provider, has its headquarters in the city. Dobbins Air Reserve Base and a Lockheed Martin manufacturing plant are important for the city’s economy. WellStar Kennestone Hospital; zipper-maker YKK; health management systems company Alere; and chemical company Aditya Birla are some of the city’s other largest employers.
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Marietta rests north of the Chattahoochee River close to the center of Cobb County, which borders Fulton, Cherokee, Paulding, Douglas, and Bartow Counties. Kennesaw lies northwest and Smyrna southeast. Marietta includes a historic business area and five National Register districts. Marietta has benefited greatly from its proximity to the state’s capital—Downtown Atlanta is about 20 miles away.
However, locals and visitors don’t have to go to Atlanta to work and play. Actually, Cobb County is the state’s second most popular tourist destination and enjoys a diverse economy. Top industries in Cobb County are professional, scientific & technical services; retail trade; and health care & social assistance.
In particular, Marietta has an impressive service economy and is a popular destination for businesses relocating from the north. Low property taxes, varying land and building choices, low office rental costs, and reasonable cost of living all make Marietta an ideal location for businesses looking to start or move south. Items commonly produced in the area include aerospace equipment, aircraft parts, construction products, chemicals, paper products, and computer hardware and software.
Marietta thrives in part because Cobb County leaders have effectively advertised the region’s suitability for business. In the past six years, the Cobb Chamber of Commerce has brought more than 25,000 new jobs to the county. “[The county is] growing and thriving, and that’s thanks to the many partners and our entire team involved in this strategy,” says Sharon Mason, Cobb Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, Randy Southerland writes.
If you’re thinking about putting down business roots in Marietta, be sure to check out the Economy Development Division of the Marietta city website for a variety of helpful business resources. The city provides local incentive programs for new and small businesses; an inventory of available space and information about workforce and tax credits that will assist business expansion; and programs to help employers with workforce development.
Most would agree that getting around by car is the best transportation option in Marietta. The roads are usually in good condition, and parking is generally free. Rush hour in the morning runs from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m., and rush hour in the evening runs from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Cobb Parkway runs through the city, and Interstate 75 runs next to it. Uber and Lyft are commonly utilized in Marietta, but if you want to travel by taxi, you should book it in advance, or you might end up waiting up to 30 minutes for it to arrive. Though Marietta doesn’t have much public transportation, it is served by the Cobb Community Transit (CCT) bus lines. You can use CCT to get around Marietta or to connect with the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) and travel to Atlanta or other surrounding areas. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is about 30 minutes south of Marietta.
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Marietta is considered part of the I-75/Marietta submarket. This submarket has 3.3 million square feet of office space, 11.5 percent of which is currently available to new renters. On average, office space in Marietta costs just over $24 per square foot to rent. This pricing is comparable to other popular areas in Atlanta, such as Cumberland, Georgia 400 Corridor, and Galleria. Class A office spaces in Marietta are slightly more expensive to rent at $27 per square foot.
Early settlers built homes near Kennesaw—then called Big Shanty—before 1824, and Marietta was recognized as a community in 1834. Cobb County, wherein Marietta lies, was named after U.S. representative Thomas Willis Cobb, and Marietta was named after his wife. Around 1838, developers identified Marietta as the hub for the Western Atlantic Railroad, and the economy grew as a result. Several years later, the hub was instead built in Atlanta. But when the railroad began running in 1850, Marietta still benefited, considering Atlanta is so closeby.
The 1850s brought a lot of “firsts” to Marietta. It was incorporated as a city, and businessman and politician John Glover became the city’s first mayor. Carey Cox became the county’s first physician. And the city got its first bank in 1855.
An important pivot point for Marietta occurred with World War II. Attorney James V. Carmichael, Marietta Mayor L. M. Blair, county commissioner George McMillan, and General Lucius D. Clay worked together to establish a branch of the Bell Aircraft Corporation in the city. The corporation employed more than 28,000 people, most of whom lived in North Georgia. Even when the war ended and the branch closed, the economy didn’t suffer. The workers had learned marketable post-war skills that they used to work elsewhere or start their own businesses. Marietta still produces aerospace equipment and aircraft parts today.