Georgia Tech breaks ground on third phase of Midtown’s Tech Square

Credit: Georgia Institute of Technology

Credit: Georgia Institute of Technology

One of Midtown’s most transformative projects that’s attracted Fortune 500 companies to the doorstep of Georgia Tech is entering its next phase.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday afternoon to kick off construction of Phase 3 of Technology Square, a multi-block project consisting of academic buildings, corporate headquarters and research facilities.

Better known as Tech Square, it’ll soon include two new towers totaling 400,000 square feet that will be the new home of Georgia Tech’s Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business and H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

While the groundbreaking comes at a time of economic uncertainty, Tech Square has so far delivered on its promise of revitalizing a blighted portion of Midtown and attracting large companies to set up shop in the city. Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, a Georgia Tech graduate and former executive, said he has no doubt the project’s next phase will only further Tech Square’s appeal and influence.

“Metro Atlanta’s diverse and thriving tech industry is the envy of many, and Tech Square has helped make that a reality,” Dickens said at the ceremony.

Georgia Tech’s main campus is separated from Midtown by Downtown Connector and its 14 lanes of asphalt that usually fill with bumper-to-bumper traffic. Tech Square saw the research university leap east across the freeway and expand into Midtown’s street grid. The complex’s opening in 2003 forever altered not only Georgia Tech but also the city’s innovation ecosystem.

Angel Cabrera, the president of Georgia Tech, said it was a huge risk to move to an area of Midtown that was then seen as seedy and blighted.

“Bringing the Scheller College of Business across the Connector, we may as well have sent them to Siberia,” Cabrera said. “At the time, it was not obvious... now, it almost seems inevitable, but there was nothing inevitable about it when this thing came to be part of the vision.”

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Through the project’s first two phases, Tech Square helped lure major corporations, including NCR, Anthem and Norfolk Southern, to build major office complexes nearby to tap into the research university’s faculty and student talent. In 2019, Georgia Tech and developer Portman opened Coda, a glitzy technology and research tower that includes corporate tenants like Keysight Technologies.

“Since it’s inception, Tech Square has been a boon for Midtown Atlanta,” Dickens said. “This neighborhood within a neighborhood has helped make Atlanta the talk of the technology world.”

The new multi-story towers will be located at the corner of West Peachtree and Fifth streets. In addition to housing the business and industrial and systems engineering colleges, the development will include a large plaza with street-level retail and an underground parking deck.

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

No details have been released on what’s in the pipeline for Tech Square after this phase. But Cabrera said the work is not over.

“We’re powering what is really the most exciting neighborhood of innovation in Atlanta and will continue to make Atlanta and the state of Georgia the most innovative region in the entire southeast,” he said.

But the Midtown project is not Georgia Tech’s only research center under development. In August, the Tech broke ground on the first phase of Science Square on North Avenue near Northside Drive, which will provide science incubator space. The five-phase project will eventually include more than 2.3 million square feet of lab and office space spread across five buildings.

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