Tech Square is abuzz, and not just with the promise of tomorrow’s technical innovators. There’s a new beacon along the Atlanta skyline, and without question, the crown jewel in Midtown’s emerging high-tech corridor is the 21-story Coda building. Located between Spring and West Peachtree streets, just north of 4th Street, the L-shaped building celebrated its grand opening ceremony on May 23, 2019.
Unlike other real estate deals the Georgia Tech Foundation has been involved with, the state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary Coda facility aims not only to enhance the Georgia Tech student experience, but to help promote regional economic growth in the city of Atlanta. With 80,000 square feet of high-performance computing space, 645,000 square feet of dedicated office space, and 32,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space open to the public, Coda is assured to easily accomplish those goals.
A Brief History
The Georgia Tech Foundation provides vital support for the Georgia Institute of Technology’s strategic initiatives by responding to the needs of the University as it strategically plans for the future. President Al Trujillo says, “It is our fiduciary responsibility to receive and manage financial donations for the support and enhancement of Georgia Tech.”
Based on discussions between Georgia Tech and the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, it was determined that a data center was needed to meet the Institute’s ever-increasing high-performance computing needs. Under the direction of the Board of Trustees, the Foundation purchased the land on behalf of Georgia Tech and moved forward with plans to develop one of the largest and most impressive data centers in the Southeast. In 2016, the Foundation enlisted the expertise of developer Portman Holdings and architectural firm John Portman & Associates, a world-renowned architectural firm specializing in mixed-use, office, and hotel properties, to announce plans for the $375 million Coda project.
Construction took place almost entirely underground for the better part of a year, as Portman embarked upon digging out the five-story, 600-space subterranean parking deck. Once underground construction was complete, attention turned to the sky. Vertical construction was completed in the fall of 2018, with the final phases of construction wrapping up in May 2019.
Now that construction on Coda is complete, tenants including collaborative workspace company WeWork, electronics manufacturer Keysights Technologies, elevator giant Thyssenkrupp, and others have moved in.
The mixed-use building will serve as a collaborative hub for more than 700 Georgia Tech faculty, staff and researchers, as well as startups and other entities on the forefront of technology and research who need a direct connection to the high-power computing center.
“The reason that companies are coming to Tech Square is because of its proximity to the thriving Georgia Institute of Technology campus and the resulting opportunity for those businesses to collaborate with some of the top engineering and computer science minds in the country”, says Trujillo. “The Foundation is simply proud to have been able to play a small role in promoting economic progress for the good of the greater Atlanta community.”
What Does the Future Hold?
Now that Coda’s doors have been ceremoniously opened, one thing’s for sure, the facility is sure to be emulated – both in size and function. In fact, it looks as though Coda has already become a catalyst for the continuing transformation of Tech Square. Two neighboring construction projects have kicked off, including a 23-story building for Anthem Healthcare next door.
Just as John Portman created his lasting legacy in Coda and in Technology Square, Georgia Tech is making its mark nationally and globally as one of the most innovative public universities. As a technology-focused, top-tier research university, Georgia Tech is advancing on its trajectory of “creating the next.” The Georgia Tech Foundation will continue to enhance the Georgia Tech student experience through intergenerational equity, and it will be diligent in its search to provide new opportunities for the support of Georgia Tech.
Photos by Alex Arnett, 2019