When Urvaksh asked me in early December 2012 about the renovation budget for the 103,000 sq ft Atlanta Tech Village, I naively said $4.5 million. At the time, my thinking was that we’d spend $60/sq ft to do 40,000 sq ft of cool startup space and then spend $2M for common space renovations (atrium, lobbies, bathrooms, etc). After going through the design process, refining the vision, and getting price quotes, it was clear that it would be significantly more expensive to achieve the desired outcome.
During the beta opening of the Village, we also realized that there was more demand than expected for entrepreneur space in the community and that our existing traditional tenants didn’t like the new building demographic. As a result, we decided to work out all the existing tenants and move forward with a full building renovation in stages over the course of 12 months, instead of the previous goal of doing it over five years.
Now, with our first full floor renovation complete, and all the hard costs, soft costs, and unexpected costs identified, it’s clear that we’re looking at a $11.5M renovation and fully loaded costs for the office space running $90/sq ft. Here’s the list of major expenses, several of which we didn’t factor in originally:
- Architect’s fees
- Construction costs
- Building modernization – new mechanical, new elevators, etc
- Furniture – 600+ desks, chairs, etc
- Building-wide wireless network – 100+ high-end access points
- Security system
- Audio / visual equipment for conference center
- 150+ 50″ LED TVs
After seeing the completed 4th floor, it’s totally worth it. Our goal is to build the ultimate community to start and grow successful tech companies, and doing it with a 20-year horizon is absolutely the best approach.
What else? What are your thoughts on spending more money to deliver the best facility?