GE Digital finds its home in Buckhead

4:03 p.m Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 Business and Money news
J. Scott Trubey/STAFF
The Prominence building at Piedmont and Lenox roads will be the new home of GE Digital’s new technology center. The tower in Buckhead is already home to the GE Transportation business. J. Scott Trubey/strubey@ajc.com

GE Digital has chosen a prominent Buckhead address for its new global digital operations center in Atlanta.

The arm of industrial conglomerate General Electric said it will lease virtually all of the top two floors at the Prominence office tower at Piedmont and Lenox roads in Buckhead, across the street from another trendy geek zone, Atlanta Tech Village.

The decision on a site comes four months after GE picked Atlanta following a national search for the unit’s headquarters.

Landing the GE Digital hub and its 250 high-paying jobs was a coup for Atlanta and the state, which bested rivals including North Carolina for the facility. Georgia was one of dozens of states that had vied for the parent company’s headquarters, losing out to Boston.

Software development is the future of GE, and the Atlanta office will help make the programs and applications that not only go in GE’s products, but will help GE run its sprawling businesses, said Chris Drumgoole, chief technology officer at GE Digital.

“We really want to be able to move in in the first quarter and we have some construction in front of us,” he said.

The building is already home to GE Transportation, and the Buckhead location puts it close to other Fortune 500 headquarters and offices.

Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed have cited GE Digital and software centers for Honeywell and Anthem as calling cards for a region that’s become a burgeoning tech hub. Eighteen companies have announced new or expanded tech centers in Georgia in the past year, totaling 4,500 jobs, state officials said.

Drumgoole said GE Digital has committed to 250 jobs — “we’ll hit that no problem” — and the figure could grow over time.

Drumgoole said the offices will be an open floor plan design, but workers won’t be packed in like sardines like many modern layouts. He said the space will be defined by collaborative areas, quiet rooms and private areas for video conferencing.

“We are really big users of video across the world,” he said. “You can pop into a room and be on video with India and China.’

Having Atlanta Tech Village and its roster of startup tenants and digital talent as a neighbor is a bonus, he said.

“It was definitely a check in the plus column,” Drumgoole said.

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