Flatiron redevelopment could turn Downtown Atlanta into startup hub

From: The Atlanta Business Chronicle

The redevelopment of the historic Flatiron Building in downtown Atlanta could trigger a startup renaissance in the city's core.

A real estate developer plans to convert the 117-year old building into an entrepreneurial hub. Atlanta Business Chronicle first reported the plans Feb. 28.

If successful, the building is likely to have a gravitational pull, luring young companies to a marginalized office market.

There is well-documented precedent. The Advanced Technology Development Center, a tech business incubator at Georgia Tech has helped turn Midtown into ground-zero for tech startups. More recently, Atlanta Tech Village in Buckhead has drawn startups to nearby buildings including Tower Place and Piedmont Center.

Real estate investor Arun Nijhawan plans to buy and renovate the 40,000 square foot Flatiron into a “collaborative place” for Atlanta’s “makers, thinkers, and doers.” according to a document filed with Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm.

Built in 1897 — five years before New York City’s better-known Flatiron — Atlanta’s English-American Building (commonly referred to as the Flatiron) is the city’s oldest skyscraper. The 11-story wedge-shaped tower straddles two of downtown’s most prominent streets — Peachtree and Broad.

Repurposing the mostly vacant Flatiron into a venue for startups reflects the new reality of commercial real estate demand.

Nijhawan refers to his planned redevelopment as “next-generation” office space — characterizing it as a “live, work, play” environment that would attract technology, digital media and advertising and design startups and entrepreneurs.

“It’s important to create an environment that promotes interaction and sharing of ideas,” he said. “We don’t sit in cubicles by ourselves and come up with great ideas.”

The development would include more than 36,000 square feet of collaborative workspace, and 5,600 square feet of boutique retail and entertainment space. Single desks and private suites would be rented on a monthly basis, giving tenants the flexibility to grow — or shrink — their office footprint as needed. Nijhawan hopes to team up with a local entrepreneur to help create industry specific programming for tenants.

Read full article from Atlanta Business Chronicle.