Atlanta Makes Case as a National Business Innovation Center

Mercedes-Benz Ends Up Being the most recent Global Company to Establish Key Research Hub in City

Georgia Tech’s Innovation Square campus in Midtown Atlanta is the center of innovation in Atlanta and Georgia. Tech Square, which opened in 2003, has played a critcal function in Atlanta’s introduction as a nationwide development hub that has drawn in nearly 20 worldwide development centers.Photo courtesy
of Georgia Tech

Georgia Gov. Nathan Offer and Mercedes-Benz International’s chief executive are making the news authorities on Monday: The automaker plans to open its fourth global development center– and its very first in the United States– in Atlanta’s Buckhead district.

With the opening of its Lab1886 at shared office company WeWork’s newest Buckhead location at the Terminus mixed-use development, Mercedes-Benz would end up being the latest international business to set up a development center in Atlanta, the center of business in the southeast. The high-end automaker, which opened its brand-new U.S. head office just north of the city earlier this year, joins telecoms business AT&T, electronic devices maker Panasonic, industrial producers Siemens and Emerson, health insurer Anthem, planemaker Boeing, Delta Air Lines, retailer House Depot, self-service kiosk service provider NCR Corp. and others in Atlanta’s development cluster.

As a result, Atlanta is getting noticed nationally as a major development hub, something that wasn’t occurring a decade ago, said Brian McGowan, who worked as primary operating officer for the U.S. Economic Advancement Administration under President Barack Obama.

“Each brand-new announcement like Mercedes-Benz is shining a big, brilliant light on the city and connecting the words Atlanta and development together,” McGowan informed CoStar News. “It makes individuals think in a different way about Atlanta. 8 years ago, in the Obama administration, we weren’t thinking of Atlanta. However I ensure you that they are now.”

Atlanta is punching above its weight class in the fight to land innovation and research centers. Last year, trade publication Development Leader ranked Atlanta No. 6 on its list of leading cities for innovation, while the city ranks as the ninth-largest metropolitan area when it pertains to population and 10th-largest based upon the area’s gdp.

In the broad scheme, innovation centers are locations where business owners and researchers can interact to brainstorm and produce developments that cause brand-new items and software. They generally are located at or near a research university that itself has a development department or initiative. They are the most recent adaptation of university research parks.

At the business level, development centers are laboratories, typically located away from the stiff culture of corporate headquarters, where scientists and leading method individuals gather to progress concepts in the testing stages. Companies such as Mercedes-Benz also use innovation centers as a method to display their newest products and innovations before they reach the customer or business-to-business market.

When selecting sites for innovation centers, companies normally look for locations close to research study institutions in cities with an existing innovation cluster and with growing populations and a pool of tech skill. Cost of living and an area’s general service climate are vital, too. In 2017, Site Selection, a trade publication, ranked Georgia as the state with the very best company climate for the 5th successive year.

“Atlanta’s much lower expenses of living compared to other cities in America assists,” stated McGowan, who also headed financial development efforts for California under previous Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and for the city of Atlanta as president of Invest Atlanta. During his tenure at Invest Atlanta, McGowan led efforts to produce 20,000 new jobs that had a financial effect of practically $20 billion. A number of the tasks were created at brand-new development centers.

The large numbers of Fortune 500 companies with head office in urban Atlanta likewise helps bring in worldwide innovation centers, McGowan stated, since it imparts confidence in business with no presence in the city to purchase Atlanta. Plus, several of the companies consisting of NCR, Delta and House Depot established their development centers in their home town.

Also, inning accordance with a recent report from property providers Jones Lang LaSalle, companies want to locate innovation workplaces and centers in cities with accelerated technology task growth and a concentration of state-of-the-art services. They also want to see that venture capital backs local start-ups.

Atlanta fits the costs, according to experts. It starts with the Georgia Institute of Innovation, or Georgia Tech. The research institution has helped propel the city into the upper echelon of innovation. Georgia Tech runs its own incubator, the Advanced Innovation Advancement Center, called ATDC.

Founded in 1980, Georgia Tech’s ATDC offers startup business access to the school’s resources including its research study facilities, copyright, advancement laboratories and its professors and trainees, the tech skill companies look for and depend upon.

Georgia Tech literally put Midtown Atlanta on the development and technology site choice map when it opened Technology Square in 2003. The 1.4 million-square-foot development district sponsored by Georgia Tech covers 8 city blocks and includes incubator area as well as a dynamic mixed-use part that offered new life to an inactive section of Midtown.

Today, Tech Square is Atlanta’s and Georgia’s innovation epicenter and is the home of several of the city’s major business development centers. When NCR transferred from rural Gwinnett County to Midtown, it specifically mentioned Georgia Tech as a significant reason it moved. Its brand-new head office at 864 Spring St. is surrounding to Tech Square.

“Atlanta has actually been making slow, consistent development with the work of the universities, and it’s not simply Georgia Tech,” McGowan stated. “While Georgia Tech’s Technology Square created the conditions that ultimately would develop an innovation culture here, Georgia State’s leadership” in intellectual property and a growing law school were likewise essential, he stated.

In 2015, Georgia State’s College of Law established its Center for Intellectual Property to work as a “understanding incubator” and link between academic community and companies that depend greatly on patents, trademarks and copyrights and to eliminate to safeguard them.

While Midtown is home to most of Atlanta’s large innovation centers, Buckhead also is beginning to complete for them. Mercedes-Benz’s selection of WeWork’s Terminus area reveals the area known mainly as Atlanta’s financial district can draw in innovation centers, said Matt Mooney, senior vice president and managing director of Atlanta for Cousins Characteristic, the owner of Terminus.

“It acts as additional recognition of the momentum in the Buckhead Tech Passage,” Mooney said.

Looking forward, Atlanta is well-positioned to win extra innovation centers, stated McGowan. He prepares to leave Atlanta next month to end up being the first president of Greater Seattle Partners, a public-private collaboration developed to create additional economic growth and competitiveness in the Puget Sound region.

“The world has to take Atlanta seriously now when it pertains to tech development here in the heart of the Deep South,” McGowan stated. “Global business must ask themselves, ‘Would we rather battle our way through the West Coast ecosystems like San Francisco or Seattle or Austin or go to a burgeoning location and forward-leaning city that’s home to numerous Fortune 500 companies?”

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