ATLANTA, Ga. (WAVY) — After hours of public comment and debate, the Atlanta City Council voted to approve financing for a deal that would help Norfolk Southern relocate from Norfolk. 

City council in Atlanta passed a series of ordinances Monday to move forward with a development deal that could attract Norfolk Southern to the city. 

The Norfolk-based company has owned part of the land  known as “the Gulch” for decades. California-based developer CIM has proposed a multi-billion dollar development for the area, and Monday night the city approved to finance $1.9 billion of it. 

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If Norfolk Southern sells the land it owns, the money could be used to create a new headquarters in Atlanta. The company says it is in the process of developing a long-range plan that includes the possibility of consolidating headquarters at one location.

Norfolk Southern’s CEO Jim Squires told the Atlanta Business Chronicle the deal moving forward would be a factor in the  company’s ultimate decision to move its headquarters to Atlanta. Norfolk Southern has been based in Norfolk since it was formed in 1982. 

Key parts of the plan were approved by a narrow 8-6 vote. 

Norfolk Southern operates a network of 19,500 miles of rail lines in 22 states and Washington, D.C.