January 16, 2015

Ga Tech Releases RFQ for 600k SF Tower

In an attempt to capture the momentum of technology companies moving to Midtown, Georgia Tech is making its first stride toward developing a more than 600k SF technology-centric tower in Technology Square, housing both high-powered computing and incubator space.  

Cushman & Wakefield released an RFQ seeking developers to help Tech expand Technology Square and develop the High Performance Computing Center (rendering here). The mixed-use tower will include in excess of 600k SF of office space, half of which will be leased by Georgia Tech, and another 100k SF that is under LOI with an unidentified tech company, according to RFQ documents here. C&W's Tony Zivalich is leading the charge for the esteemed university, but was unavailable for comment. “Details of these industry partners and their level of commitment will be disclosed to the finalists during the advanced stages of the RFP phase,” officials state in documents. 

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This is the latest evidence that Midtown has become the preferred Atlanta home for tech companies. Just this past week, NCR finalized details on its planned move to Centergy Two at Technology Square, and numerous tech and healthcare companies have flocked to the submarket in recent months, including Athenahealth and Mail Chimp at Ponce City Market. Tech looks to create a hub for biotech and tech companies with this project, especially with its 2MW high-performance computing center, which will be leased out to third-party users. Other features of the project include street-level retail, co-working space for startups, a member's club with amenities similar to an airline club, and a technolgy showcase center featuring the latest innovations. Tech's site is bounded by Spring, West Peachtree and 4th streets as well as Armstead Place. According to docs, it's looking to engage a developer on a ground lease of at least 60 years. 

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WPM-Hight JV Scores Big Industrial Tenant

An industrial partnership has struck gold again, this time in Covington. WPM Commercial and Hight Property Group just leased 207k SF to Mannington Mills, a flooring company, for five years at 9172 Industrial Dr. The 326k SF facility was previously owned by Berry Plastics, which vacated the property in 2012. The JV just purchased the 37-acre property off I-20 East and pumped $2M into renovations that ultimately lured Mannington Mills, says WPM's Matt DiLeo (right, with WPM's Price Muir, center, and Hight's Phillip Hight). 

CohnReznick (Field) MATL

This is the JV's second acquisition in the past year. It acquired TUG Technologies' HQ at 2652 S Main St, a 100k SF manufacturing facility in Kennesaw. “We plan to continue to buy as much industrial product in the Southeast as we can make sense of, no matter the story, both together and separately,” Matt says. 

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Rossell: Atlanta's Going To Be Hot. I Mean It.

Houston's bane is Atlanta's gain. At least that's how former CNBC chief economist Marci Rossell sees it. Marci was on tap earlier this week to give her annual economic prognostications during CREW Atlanta and CoreNet Global's 2015 Economic Forecast Luncheon at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Unlike years past, when Marci tried her best to be encouraging to the Atlanta business community, this time she didn't have to try. And that's partly because the collapse in oil prices has been a boon to the average Atlantans' pocketbook. “It's like everybody in town is getting a bonus from their jobs,” Marci says. 

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Oil prices were only the tip of her optimistic iceberg for metro Atlanta. “Atlanta never really recovered from the downturn in the 1990s. I think finally this is the turning point,” she told Bisnow in an exclusive interview. With job growth topping 100,000 last year, Marci predicts the metro area could top 140,000 new jobs this year. And that could be coupled with strong wage growth, especially when unemployment hits 5.5% (it's now at 6.5%). “I think we'll be stunned this year at how quickly wages start to rise.” Mercedes-Benz moving its HQ to Atlanta also has a huge “psychological” impact on Atlanta. “It feels like the old Atlanta, that old combination of grit, determination and glamour, that's something Mercedes brings back."

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TechSquare Labs: Room for Innovators

If you're an innovator, then Georgia Tech's Technology Square is the place to be. TechSquare Labs, located right on the square, drills it down even further: it's a shared innovation space inviting major corporations to grow their ideas. Partner Allen Nance (along with Paul Judge) says that ATT, Home Depot, NCR and Coca-Cola are doing innovation in their own spaces, but he imagines one incredible space that has 10 to 15 corporations all benefiting from each other's energy and fueling creative thinking. Although not affiliated with the university, the space offers a team of tech entrepreneurs, as well as marketing, branding, investment and company-building for entrepreneurs and organizations at all levels. For more info on our sponsor, click here.

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