First Atlanta took a swing at Hollywood's film industry, now we're homing in on Silicon Valley's tech crown. Admittedly, at 10th place overall, we have a long way to go before we unseat the Valley, but a recent CBRE report shows that Atlanta is heading in the right direction. Our city is one of the fastest growing markets for tech talent, with 21 percent growth from 2010 to 2013. Better yet, thanks to our comparatively low cost of living and doing business, affordable real estate and high levels of education, the trend is expected to continue. And let's be real, this isn't just about the cool factor of having a bunch of millennials set up camp to create startups with no vowels in their names. No, this is about bringing money into our economy and innovators into our city... though the cool factor is a nice side effect. Bring on the flying cars!
According to the CBRE study, released just this month, it costs an average of $37,340,831 in Atlanta to run a 500-employee tech firm with a 75,000-square-foot office. Compare that to $54.5 million in Silicon Valley, $51.3 million in New York or $46.3 million in Washington, D.C., and you start to get a sense of why Atlanta is hot in the tech industry. Sure, there are even cheaper places to set up shop, but who wants to run a tech company out of Orlando ($32.5 million)?
Atlanta's top tech office space deals of 2014 included Fiserve (375,000 square feet in Alpharetta), ADP (73,265 square feet also in Alpharetta), Earthlink (72,717 square feet at 1170 Peachtree), Vocalocity (65,824 square feet just up the street at 1375 Peachtree) and TSYS (62,000 square feet in McDonough). With an office vacancy rate of 19.8 percent, compared to Silicon Valley's 8 percent or New York's 7.5 percent, Atlanta has plenty of inventory for future deals like these.
The one thing Atlanta does not have going for it is the number of millennials. The report notes that the percentage of 20-somethings in Atlanta actually decreased by 6.6 percent between 2009 and 2014, but it's hard not to think that will change as Atlanta's reputation as an affordable, increasingly pedestrian-friendly, modern city grows, right?