Microsoft to put "innovation center" in downtown's iconic Flatiron building

From: The Atlanta Business Chronicle

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) will put an "innovation center" in downtown's Flatiron building which is being transformed into an entrepreneurship hub.

The Microsoft centers provide resources and support for students, entrepreneurs and startups, accelerating the creation of new companies, jobs and growth of the local software ecosystem. The Atlanta location will be the second such center in the United States after Miami, and one of more than 100 worldwide.

"It's a place where you bring government, startups, academics and community together," Microsoft Business Evangelist Bradley Jensen said "It helps foster the growth within the city of an IT skill set, or pool of IT helps bridge the skills gap."

The Microsoft center will work closely with a new Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative, which will also be housed at the Flatiron building.

The 40,000 square foot Flatiron redevelopment is being led by private equity firm, Lucror Resources and investment partner Jim Cumming. It is billed as "next-generation" office space.

Lucror's Arun Nijhawan characterizes it as an office environment which "fosters the convergence of ideas among entrepreneurs, corporations and academia." Emphasis will be placed on the flexible space requirements of office tenants.

Microsoft will provide the Flatiron's tenants with a BizSpark subscription — free access to software and development tools, such as Azure and Visual Studio. Microsoft will also provide tenants with mentoring, coaching and grants. The software company will also host events and speaker series.

For Microsoft, the innovation centers is also about market share growth. By encouraging entrepreneurs and companies to build their business on Microsoft software and development platforms, the company hopes to hook potential customers.

For the 118-year-old Flatiron building, 84 Peachtree St., the innovation center is a recruitment tool for technology and creative companies.

"At the end of the day, we have to be able to differentiate ourselves," Nijhawan said. "It's about how we help tenants grow their businesses and the types of amenities, services and infrastructure we provide at the Flatiron."

Read full article from Atlanta Business Chronicle.