Switchyards is keeping it in Atlanta and with soul

Q: Walking over to Centennial Park we passed an old building called Switchyards Downtown Club. The ping pong table outside was interesting . Can you tell us about it?

A: Switchyards is on the corner of Ted Turner Drive and Williams Street. It is a members only club designed for B2C startups.

Michael Tavani in his start up of Scoutmob spent hours in coffee shops. He had an idea to start a community space that focused on makers like himself.

Atlanta born and raised Tavani, founder of Switchyards, purchased the 1928 building in 2015 with no experience in rehabing a building. Switchyards opened January of 2016.

“It began as a business to consumers space, but has evolved into people who are photographers or working on a radio show, for example. It’s a place for people to do a little bit of work, but also be around people and to be around people who are just doing interesting things,” said Tavani.

Four stories and 19.000 square feet make up Switchyards. It offers a coffee shop and theatre-style event space on the main floor. The top three and four hold the office space.

Below ground level is the ping pong table, lounge area, kitchen and meeting rooms.

Tavani tells the story behind the ping pong table, "A previous tenant had a hole cut in the ground floor which incidentally let light into the basement. A company that was working in the basement said 'Hey, we have a ping pong table, can we bring it here?'" - and so it began.

He said, “They get at least one email a month about the subterranean ping pong stadium.”

Two big events are held every month that are free and open to the public. “Made in Atlanta” showcases Atlanta-made brands and “The Consumer Show” highlights five companies who get to give their pitch for five minutes.

“Creativity and soul is the shared community environment. It is inspiring. The concept works because work itself has changed so much. The concept of an office and how one works has changed as well,” said Tavani.

With almost 3 1/2 years in, the downtown club has become the catalyst for the birth of his neighborhood clubs. The one in West End will be the first of three and open in about 60 days.

“The idea behind these clubs is to be the third place away from home.

“The first place is home, second is work and third place is this other type of place. It could be a coffee shop, a diner, whatever, but Switchyards has become a really good third place where a lot of people come to be around other creative people,” he said.

Switchyards Downtown Club is located at 151 Ted Turner Drive N.W., Atlanta.

For more information, visit switchyards.com


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