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Pursuit of Tech Companies Heats Up in Atlanta

19 Jan 2017

Across metro Atlanta, efforts are underway to lure up-and-coming tech firms. In Buckhead, for example, a nondescript 1980s-era, five-story office building at the intersection of Lenox and Piedmont Roads will be redeveloped into a new 100,000-square-foot tech startup hub.


“TechRise,” as it will be called, is the brainchild of tech entrepreneur Greg Benoit, who according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle will invest about $25 million on the project that will emerge in the shadow of the Atlanta Tech Village.


The goal of TechRise is to target software companies emerging from co-working spaces and incubators in the region. It will recruit tenants from surrounding startup crucibles, including Atlanta Tech Village, WeWork and Roam.


“We are trying to be the place where companies go after they outgrow co-working, or incubator space,” Benoit told the Business Chronicle. “There’s no market today for companies that are too big for co-working spaces, but aren’t ready to sign a five-year lease in a traditional office building.”


At capacity, TechRise will accommodate 20 companies that would take between 2,500 to 20,000 square feet — or a full floor. It is proposing a rate of $35 per square foot, which an industry source told the Business Chronicle is “too high relative to the product.”


The action is heating up elsewhere as well. Peachtree Corners, once an epicenter of tech cool in Georgia, “wants its tech groove back,” writes AJC business columnist Matt Kempner.


He notes that Peachtree Corners is spending nearly $1 million on a new incubator offering tech entrepreneurs mentoring, access to equipment and cheap office space for their startups.


The city’s project, called Prototype Prime, sits below leased city hall space with space for dozens of tiny companies. “We hope to draw from the whole region,” Mayor Mike Mason told the AJC’s Kempner.


Of course, other parts of the region also are trying to compete. Kempner notes that the Alpharetta Technology Commission now has a building behind a local firehouse to create event space as well as offices that local tech startups can lease, and in the next month or so Sandy Springs leaders plan to open what they’re calling an “innovation and technology center” with meeting space and plans for tech gatherings.