If an investor's plans are realized, Atlanta's oldest skyscraper could be refashioned into an incubator for entrepreneurs by the end of 2014. Standing 11 stories over Peachtree Street since 1897, the historic but neglected Flatiron Building — currently 70 percent vacant — could play host to more than 36,000 square feet of collaborative workspace and 5,600 square feet of street retail. In a move that could be another jolt to downtown's economy, distressed real estate investor Arun Nijhawan hopes to acquire the 40,000 square-foot Flatiron this month and renovate it by year's end, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports. In a nutshell, plans call for transforming the building into a collaborative space for ATL's "makers, thinkers, and doers," the newspaper reports, citing documents filed with Invest Atlanta. Nijhawan has reportedly raised nearly all of the $10 million required for the flip, which brightens the Flatiron's prospects of joining Atlanta's burgeoning start-up business hub scene.
If this sounds like déjà vu, you might be thinking of Scoutmob's co-founder's leaked plans for the same building last fall. Micheal Tavani had considered the Flatiron for his incubator aimed at helping design and consumer-brand startups get off the ground, in the vein of Buckhead's Atlanta Tech Village. But the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that Tavani is instead finalizing plans at a Midtown site for his project, with an announcement expected in a few weeks detailing exactly where that site is. It's possible the Flatiron may have been too small for Tavani, who was scouting for up to 65,000 square feet.
· Flatiron Building could be redeveloped into $10M entrepreneurship hub [ABC]
· Could 'Flatiron Building' Become Tech Nerve Center? [Curbed Atlanta]
· Reality check: Is Atlanta a high-tech hub or a startup striver? [Atlanta magazine]