Is Downtown the Next Start-Up Hub?

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We reported a few weeks ago that ScoutMob co-founder Michael Talvani was considering downtown’s iconic Flatiron Building as the potential site for an incubator to foster start-ups in the city. Talvani has since switched his sites to another location in Midtown, which is yet to be announced, but that doesn’t mean that those incubator dreams for the Flatiron Building are dead.

Arun Nijhawan, managing principal with Lucror Resources LLC, is in talks to purchase the 40,000 SF building in the Downtown submarket. According to a document filed with Invest Atlanta, Nijhawan’s plan is to renovate and convert the building into a collaborative workspace for the city’s “makers, thinkers, and doers.” The distressed real estate investor hopes to close on the building by the end of March and have renovation completed by the end of the year. Renovations include 36k SF of collaborative workspace and as much as 5,600 SF of retail on the 1st floor. $8.7 million in private funding as already been raised, and Invest Atlanta has offered a $1.5 million loan to help with renovation costs. Invest Atlanta has even offered to forgive the loan after a seven year period so long as the building is used as a start-up incubator and also houses a women’s entrepreneurial center.

The Flatiron start-up is just one of several start-up friendly buildings that have popped up in Atlanta in the past few years. The Advanced Technology Development Center, a tech-focused start-up incubator out of Georgia Tech, started this trend and opened in the 80s. David Cummings converted the former Ivy Place building into Atlanta Tech Village, which currently houses about 100 start-ups. The former Sears warehouse redevelopment has attracted nearly 300,000 SF worth of tech tenants and has recently announced a 10,000 SF design start-up incubator for the project. And as mentioned earlier, Scoutmob’s Talvani is in the process of closing on a building in Midtown for incubator space.

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