Ananth Siva, CEO of telecommunications startup Movius Interactive Corporation, scouted a number of locations both intown and in the Atlanta suburbs as he sought new office space for the growing company.
Coming out of the pandemic, and wanting more of Movius’ workforce back in-person, Siva said tech companies like his might look at moving into the city rather than staying outside the Perimeter. Founded in Duluth, Movius moved its headquarters about 10 miles northwest to Alpharetta to find room to expand, while trying to keep things convenient for his current employees, many of whom already live in the area of northern Fulton County.
As companies sort out the future of their workspaces, they’re juggling demands of workers who have grown accustomed to hybrid work schedules and other flexible arrangements. They’re also seeing cheaper rents, more amenities and other perks as landlords compete for tenants.
While the past decade or so saw huge demand for office space in popular intown submarkets like Midtown and the Old Forth Ward, several suburban office centers continue to hold their own.
North Fulton’s office market offers lower rents. The region also has lower vacancy rates than some of Atlanta’s interior submarkets, according to Colliers. At the end of this year’s first quarter, North Fulton had an office vacancy rate of 16.3%, while Midtown was nearly 18% and Buckhead was close to 20%.
“You don’t have to be in Buckhead anymore,” he said. “The vibes that we see here (in Alpharetta), the energy and the opportunity that it creates, we’re very excited about expanding and continue to grow on this investment.”
The company moved into the Sanctuary Park office complex this month as its dozens of employees return to the office five days a week. The company leases 8,400 square feet for its 72 employees, which it plans to expand as it grows to 100 workers. Movius currently has about 160 employees spread between Georgia, New York City, London and Bangalore, India.
Movius is a software provider that allows companies to assign a separate business number for voice calls and texting, while incorporating artificial intelligence and maintaining corporate security measures.
Founded in 1999, the company has pivoted nearly half a dozen times, spokesman John Rarrick said. From 2014 to 2019, the company raised $73 million in seed and venture capital funding as it developed its communication technology.
In November, T-Mobile made an undisclosed equity investment in Movius.
Deborah Lanham, President and CEO of the Alpharetta Chamber of Commerce, said the city has growing momentum with the state’s tech ecosystem. The Georgia Legislature designated a seven-mile stretch of Ga. 400 as “The Technology Corridor” last year.
The north Fulton area has landed a few large technology companies in recent years. Last summer, Boston Scientific announced a $62.5 million manufacturing and supply chain facility in John Creek, which is expected to bring 340 new jobs over the next seven years.