In late August this year I was heavily involved in the Pardot acquisition process with ExactTarget and an idea hit me: if this deal goes through, I want to buy a large building and turn it into the Atlanta Tech Village. On August 30th I blogged about the idea generically, calling the post Physical Atlanta Startup Village Idea. The idea is a combination community center and office complex geared specifically towards innovative companies doing cool things while promoting serendipitous interactions. After thinking about it for a while, the name Atlanta Startup Village was too narrow as it implied it was only for startups whereas a technology community needs remote offices of larger tech companies, startups, and tech-related companies like marketing, PR, accounting, legal, and venture firms. A community is all types of people, not just fledgling two-person startups.
Post Pardot acquisition, I immediately set out looking at all different types of office buildings and empty land throughout Midtown, West Midtown, and Buckhead. After 30 days of researching options and talking to as many people as would listen to me, one building became obvious as far and away the best option: 3423 Piedmont Rd NE (Google Maps). Super important things like great interstate access, MARTA access, walkability to a dozen restaurants, large windows, tall ceilings, indoor/outdoor areas, tons of parking, massive space (100,000 square feet!), and immediate usability were all present. There were some good land options in Midtown and West Midtown but no good buildings that were for sale at a reasonable per square foot price, and I didn’t want to get in the construction business and have a three year horizon before having something usable. Nothing on the market even compared to 3423 Piedmont Rd.
Midtown, with its startup density at Tech Square, would have been ideal, but land and buildings in that area are significantly more expensive than 3423 Piedmont Rd. Buckhead as a location opens up northern suburbs like Alpharetta, Roswell, Dunwoody, and Sandy Springs to a shorter commute to get to a high density tech community while still being very accessible to the intown crowd that lives in Midtown, Virginia Highlands, and Inman Park. There’s another important piece being in the heart of Buckhead: proximity to the wealthiest Atlantans with an eye towards helping increase investment in local tech companies.
After a quick tour of the building (it was the last one I looked at), we put in an offer on it the week before Thanksgiving, negotiated for a week, and had it under contract by Thanksgiving. Now, 30 days later, the closing is done and the building is called Atlanta Tech Village.
Take a look at the Atlanta Tech Village website, read the Atlanta Business Chronicle article on the Atlanta Tech Village, and check out the post on it on the Startup Communities site. I’m excited to get tech companies in the building and start renovations.
What else? What are your thoughts on the Atlanta Tech Village and what are some ideas to make it great?