Kemp: Google’s new Midtown office is ‘crown jewel’ of city’s tech surge

Views of Google Atlanta’s office in Midtown on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (Natrice Miller/natrice.miller@ajc.com)

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

Combined ShapeCaption
Views of Google Atlanta’s office in Midtown on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (Natrice Miller/natrice.miller@ajc.com)

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

The tech giant now employs more than 1,000 Georgians, and that number will increase once its Midtown office finishes construction

Gov. Brian Kemp took a few moments to peer through an 18-story window at Google’s new Midtown office.

“Crazy,” he said, admiring the construction cranes dotted throughout the city.

Kemp on Wednesday morning was visiting the tallest building constructed in Atlanta since the Great Recession to see Google’s expansion for himself. The Republican, currently running a heated reelection campaign, was also there to take credit for the state’s growing status as a national technology hub, with several companies making large investments in Midtown over the past few years.

“This facility right here that we’re in today is the crown jewel for Google in the Southeast,” he said. “That’s something that they will continue to grow up, not only in Georgia, but in this entire region.”

Google announced last year it would be an anchor tenant at the 31-story office tower under construction at 1105 West Peachtree Street. On Wednesday, the company said six floors — 18 through 23 — are finished and have “Googlers” working their day job. Once complete, Google will occupy 19 floors of the building, spanning more than 500,000 square feet. The company previously said its office investment would total $25 million.

Google first expanded into Georgia’s northern suburbs in 2001 with fewer than a dozen employees. Five years later, the tech giant moved to Midtown, two blocks away from the new high-rise.

ExploreMidtown condo breaks record for price per square foot

More than 1,000 Google employees currently work in Georgia, although the company declined to provide a specific number who work out of the new tower. In addition to the two Midtown offices, Google has a data center in Douglas County.

“We’re expanding significantly,” said Matthew Pritchard, a Google Atlanta co-site lead. “We didn’t just show up in this town yesterday. We’ve been here for 21 years.”

In the new modern office space, decorative peaches dangled on strings running from the floor to the ceiling at a gathering space. Megaphones dangled from the ceiling among cafeteria light fixtures to pay homage to the city’s history of protests and civil rights.

“Let’s make this a love letter for the city of Atlanta,” Pritchard said of the office’s design.

The lobby, themed after the city’s well-known music scene, is centered around a large heart-shaped decoration that features lights which will ebb and flow based on the loudness of the room.

Combined ShapeCaption
Gov. Brian Kemp tours the Google Midtown office with Marty Kemp on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (Natrice Miller/natrice.miller@ajc.com)

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

Gov. Brian Kemp tours the Google Midtown office with Marty Kemp on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (Natrice Miller/natrice.miller@ajc.com)

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

Combined ShapeCaption
Gov. Brian Kemp tours the Google Midtown office with Marty Kemp on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (Natrice Miller/natrice.miller@ajc.com)

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

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

Companies flock to Midtown

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s upheaval of the office market, Midtown has experienced an influx of companies, especially in the tech space, setting up shop in the city.

Cisco, Microsoft, Mailchimp and Airbnb are just a few companies that joined Google in announcing new office relocations in Midtown over the past few years. Companies outside of tech, such as Norfolk Southern, Anthem and Visa, are also moving workers inside the city.

ExploreMicrosoft’s campus in Atlantic Station sold to global investment firm

Metro Atlanta’s office market is experiencing a rebound following the COVID shutdown. According to Cushman & Wakefield, the state is on pace to have more than 8 million square feet of leased office space for the second year in a row. While that still lags behind the 9.5 million square feet of office space leased in 2019, it’s a significant bump after 2020 dipped to just 7 million square feet.

CBRE’s second-quarter analysis of the Atlanta office market was similarly optimistic, saying the variety of companies expanding in the city adds resilience.

Kemp said he expects the growth to continue and he wants to preserve Georgia’s pro-business status, using the recent corporate investment as ammunition against his political opponents.

“We’re prepared in our state to battle a lot of really disastrous policy decisions that we’re seeing in Washington, D.C., that have caused incredible gas prices, 40-year high inflation and other things,” he said. “We’re positioned as a state because we’ve been open, our revenues are good and we’re growing… no matter what happens over the next two or three years, we’ve got a lot of investment and a lot of growth.”

ExploreBig Georgia companies keep mum after divisive abortion ruling