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Midtown Atlanta is a Hotbed of Activity

Georgia Tech’s Technology Square continues to register impressive leasing momentum in 2016. Leasing volume in the area is up 7% through the first two quarters of the year compared to 2015, according to CoStar data. With close proximity to Georgia Tech’s deep engineering pool, the complex continues to be a magnet for software developers and other tech companies in the region.

GE recently announced plans to open its first global digital operations center that will house 250 employees at a yet-to-be disclosed location in Midtown. Some speculate that GE could be considering the High Performance Computing Center at Tech Square. The Coda building, a 750,000-square-foot office tower to be anchored by Georgia Tech is hoping to become a haven for companies that work on “big data” technologies. The building is slated to deliver in early 2019.

While Tech Square is laying the groundwork for innovation and startups, Atlanta’s fintech sector has come of age. Equifax announced that it will create 150 new jobs and relocate 450 current employees from its offices in Sandy Springs and Alpharetta to Midtown. Equifax has leased 100,000 SF at One Atlantic Center (1201 W Peachtree St NW) to accommodate the expansion. Growth in its financial analytics business is spurring the hiring spree;credit reports accounted for about 80% of the firm’s revenues about a decade ago, today they represent about half.

Payscape, with annual revenues of $45 million, announced earlier this month they too are relocating to Midtown. The company will add about 100 jobs to the area through new hiring and consolidation of two offices in Buckhead as well as a Cleveland-based software development center. In a joint venture, the company is purchasing and renovating a two-story, 43,430-SF building at 1438 W. Peachtree St. that will serve as the company’s new headquarters. As a result, Payscape will triple its real estate footprint in Atlanta.

As fintech innovation, streaming video and mobile payment companies base their operations in Atlanta, demand for the region’s expertise in internet security services is also intensifying. Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Akamai more than doubled its occupancy in Buckhead, leasing 17,000 SF at Northcreek Office Park as part of a plan to increase its headcount by more than 70 in the next several months. Atlanta cybersecurity firm Ionic Security is the next cybersecurity firm looking for space in the market. The firm expects to lease 20,000 SF in addition to its current 30,000 SF in Midtown on the heels of a $45 million in Series D funding round last month that included Amazon, Google and Goldman Sachs as investors.

With Midtown availability being relatively scarce compared to the rest of the city, Atlanta’s Central Perimeter could stand to benefit. With several projects clustered around the area’s MARTA stops, increasing options and lower real estate costs could prove attractive to prospective tenants. MARTA rail also links the Central Perimeter market to Atlanta's growing mass of younger millennials. It will be worth watching whether this dynamic can dispel the notion that to recruit millennials companies must be based in Midtown or Buckhead.


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Keith DeCoster

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