Five things to know about ‘Coda,’ the second phase of Tech Square

Dignitaries including Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Portman Holdings Vice Chairman Jack Portman and Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson will be on hand Tuesday for a ceremonial ground breaking for one of the city’s most anticipated new developments.

The second phase of Technology Square, known as "Coda," will be a 21-story office tower featuring space for Georgia Tech and the private sector. Tech and developer Portman hope the tower, expected to be finished in early 2019, will burnish Midtown's status as a technology hub.

If all goes as planned, the L-shaped glass building at Spring and Fourth streets will be home to some 2,400 workers, including Tech researchers and staff and employees from private sector firms that would collaborate on new technologies.

Here are five things to know about Coda:

1) A collaborative hub

“The whole theme behind this project is to create an environment for collaboration to get people out of their silos,” Travis Garland, Portman’s director of leasing on the project said in an interview earlier this year. “It’s definitively one-of-a-kind in the Southeast and probably one-of-a-kind across the country.”

The entire complex will total about 1 million square feet. More than 750,000 square feet will be office, retail and data center space. Georgia Tech will occupy and lease from Portman about half of the office floor space, while the rest will be leased to major companies and startups, Garland said in the spring.

Design firm John Portman & Associates, part of the Portman empire, designed a “collaborative core” with a spiral staircase joining the wings of the tower. The retail and restaurant space will be designed, Garland said, to create a “living room” for Midtown.

Coda is where the private sector and Georgia Tech’s research faculty and students will meld and development new technologies. At least that’s the hope. Technology Square’s first phase certainly has become the center of gravity for a number of tech firms, including the future headquarters of NCR and a number of innovation labs from companies such as AT&T, Georgia Power and Panasonic.

2) 12,000 students, residents and workers?

Invest Atlanta CEO Eloisa Klementich predicted that by the time Coda opens in 2019, the immediate area of Technology Square could house 12,000 students, residents and workers given projects in the pipeline.

3) The name

Coda was first known as the High Performance Computing Center. The name didn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Ideas for the tower originated about a decade ago as a sophisticated computing center for modeling, data analytics and other research. A coda is the concluding part of a piece of music or literature as well as a work of art that stands on its own.

4) Jobs and incentives

Invest Atlanta, the city’s development arm, estimates the tower will create 2,100 temporary construction jobs and will have an economic impact over 20 years of more than $800 million.

The project, which is getting about $15 million in tax incentives, is on land that is currently not taxed. Though there has been some dispute about the incentive figure, with one agency board member saying that number could climb higher. Invest Atlanta estimates the tax payments from Portman will total $17 million over 15 years, after the tax breaks are applied.

5) Development team

Atlanta-based Portman will own the tower and will work with real estate services firm JLL to lease space to the private sector. Georgia Tech will be the anchor tenant.