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‘Groundbreaking’ at Tech Square kicks off years of construction for Coda

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It’ll be late spring before the site is fully excavated for the monstrous project

The grey skies and chilling wind couldn't put a damper on the celebration of commencement of work on Coda at Tech Square yesterday, as hundreds gathered under tents on Armstead Place alongside what is already an active construction site for what probably shouldn't have been called a "groundbreaking."

Dignitaries, Georgia Tech officials, and a crew from the Portman companies — serving as both developer and architect on the project — used silver shovels on a mound of sand brought in for the occasion.

It was the ceremonial start to what’s going to be a serious undertaking. But it’s one that could take Atlanta to the next level in the IT game, by the sound of things.

The project’s architect and developer, Jack Portman, FAIA, indicated it would take at least five months and more than 20,000 dump trucks to remove dirt required to start construction.

With all the time it will take to dig down below street level, President of Georgia Tech Bud Peterson quipped it would be a year before construction is back above ground.

Once constructed, the building will contain 770,000 square feet of office, retail, and computing space, providing accommodations for Tech labs, startup companies, and other businesses who need direct connection to the high-power-computing center that will fill out the block.

In addition to being high-tech, the design is also highly sustainable, with Portman noting the project will achieve LEED Platinum — the highest level of sustainable design recognized by the US Green Building Council.

New renderings show a pretty snazzy tower, complete with coworking spaces to foster interaction. One element that lacks pizzazz as of now is the fortress-like block on the northern edge of the site, which will house the complex’s computing power behind the remains of the Crum & Forster Building.

Let’s hope that’s just a placeholder in the rendering.

Due to the complexity and scale of the undertaking, the project isn’t expected to be done until the beginning of 2019.

But while it may be one of the largest projects going on in the neighborhood, it is far from the only one.

In remarks during the ceremony, Kevin Green, President and CEO of Midtown Alliance, noted that Coda is now the 22nd active construction site in the 1.2 square miles that make up the core of Midtown as the year comes to a close.