BItPay, Yik Yak Among ATV Graduates
Two and a half years into the great tech office experiment, Atlanta Tech Village officials have a few names to crow about: BitPay, InfoPool and Yik Yak, some of the biggest startup successes birthed at the 103k SF technology incubator in Buckhead. And we have ATV's Karen Houghton to give us more ATV metrics at our Atlanta Office event 7:30am, June 23, at St. Regis in Buckhead.
“We've just been continually growing,” Karen says of one of Atlanta's first tech incubator hubs. The owners are nine months into a renovation project of the former Ivy Place office building on Piedmont Road, and it already is home to 250 startups. While ATV's incubator program is still relatively young, in the time it's existed, Karen says the average startup stays at ATV for nine months (many of the bigger firms for longer). “For us, we're actually beyond the density we thought we'd achieve,” she says. It had a handful of “graduations,” including college student chatting service Yik Yak, which nailed more than $70M in funding recently, and BitPay, which grew from four to more than 40 employees during its time at ATV.
ATV is just a microcosm of the good feeling permeating throughout Atlanta's office market. So far this year, 640k SF of prime office space was taken up by companies, according to numbers from Colliers International. “We had the flu for so long, and now we're getting better,” says Cushman & Wakefield's Ken Ashley. “We're ready to take on the world.” While there's always the potential for geopolitical incidents to impact the economy (Grexit, anyone?), to put this in a baseball analogy, Ken says, “I think the good times have six to eight innings left.”
Ken is among the illustrious industry experts who are on the Atlanta Office panel, including Daniel Corp's Steve Baile, Hines Interest's John Heagy, Jamestown Properties' Jim Irwin (here) and Portland Holdings' Travis Garland. And if Ken were a betting man, he says the next likely new office building to spring up will be Hines' 200k SF tech-centric project at Atlantic Station. But that's not the only place. “I would definitely put my money on Central Perimeter. Where there's smoke, there's fire,” he says.
Jackson Corporate Real Estate's Scott Jackson, another of our speakers, says it's a good time to be a legacy owner in Atlanta. “Legacy owners are seeing a clear opportunity to exit,” says Scott (here with JCRE's Yashana Thomas and Laurie Colestock). “The low interest rate environment coupled with numerous new funds of capital flooding the market will drive demand for acquisitions into next year.” And selling is something Scott will be doing, saying he expects to unload more than $200M of its office portfolio this year. And other buildings will be refinanced. “We recently refinanced our entire GE/Blackstone portfolio. We are now focused on increasing occupancy throughout the portfolio and selling them into an improving office market.” To learn more, please join us for our Atlanta Office event, starting 7:30am, June 23 at the St. Regis. Register here.