“We see this as the catalyst that will open doors for other big developments,” she says.

With code names like “Project Infinity” and “Project Hush,” more than two dozen companies are looking to relocate or expand in DeKalb County, lured in part by lucrative tax breaks.

These businesses have the potential to add and retain as many as 3,281 jobs, attracting nearly $500 million worth of private investment, according to theDecide DeKalb Development Authority, the economic development arm of the county’s government. Many of these companies are expected to decide this year whether to locate in DeKalb.

Despite booming growth along the northern Perimeter, DeKalb has lagged behind other core metro Atlanta counties as the region has recovered from the recession. The county’s reputation was harmed by government corruption and an underperforming public school system, leading companies to locate elsewhere.

But aided by fierce recruitment and tax incentives, the business landscape may be changing in the county of 735,000 residents.