Best in Real Estate: Anthem deal proves Midtown’s tech muscle – Atlanta Business Chronicle

An innovation studio at the Centergy building gave Anthem Inc. (NYSE: ANTM) a taste of Midtown Atlanta’s energy and buzz. Then the health insurance giant more than doubled down, choosing the heart of the district for a 3,000-employee IT center.

Anthem’s build-to-suit agreement with Portman Holdings for approximately 352,000 square feet in a 21-story custom-built office building is the Office Deal of the Year in Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Best in Atlanta Real Estate Awards. It’s more evidence — if any was needed — of Midtown’s attraction for companies that rely on tech-savvy talent.

Named the “Anthem Technology Center,” the building will be at the corner of 4th and West Peachtree streets, next door to Portman’s nearly 750,000-square-foot mixed-use Coda complex in Tech Square.

This eight-block technology innovation district, anchored by Georgia Tech, is home to a variety of tech-based startups, incubators and innovation centers, including Anthem’s Innovation Studio in the Centergy building, where it develops customer service-related apps and software, and is currently seeking to expand the 6,400-square-foot studio by some 50 percent.

In their announcement last year, Anthem said that their new building will serve as a hub for approximately 3,000 multi-disciplinary IT professionals “dedicated to creating new capabilities that will enhance the consumer health care experience, help improve quality of care, and lower health care costs.”

Also in Anthem’s announcement, Jeff Fusile, president of Anthem’s affiliated Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plan in Georgia, said that “This new investment is a critical part of the Tech Square expansion, and delivers on the commitment we announced last year to grow our IT footprint in Atlanta and the state.”

Fusile added that when the building opens, it will join what he described as “the city’s dynamic line-up of technology companies, enabling us to tap into the area’s highly skilled talent pipeline.”

Travis Garland, director of leasing for Portman Holdings, negotiated the deal on behalf of building ownership. Anthem was represented in the lease transaction by David DiPietro, Kelly Givens, Tom Kubis and Liron Nelik from Savills Studley.

Completion of the new building is set for February 2020, according to Garland. The building will total 360,000 square feet in size, he notes, with Anthem’s 352,000 square feet of occupancy complemented by around 8,000 square feet of retail.

Anthem’s selection of this site is a big win for Midtown and Tech Square, notes Garland.

“Anthem could have put this building anywhere,” he said. “But the fact they chose to go here speaks volumes about the attractiveness of Midtown and Technology Square to companies that want a location that puts them in position to recruit the best tech talent.”


Kevin Green: Anthem’s location is ‘in a center of gravity for Tech Square.’

Kevin Green, president and CEO of Midtown Alliance, a community improvement district for the area, agreed. “This decision by Anthem puts them in a prime location in a center of gravity for Tech Square.

“It’s a further testament to the strength of a walkable urban district in the midst of one of the most sought- after talent pools in the country,” he said. “The Anthem office tower will join 21 other major projects under construction in a one-square-mile area of Midtown, and will add significantly to the energy of the neighborhood.”

According to the latest statistics from Midtown Alliance, there was just under three million square feet of office space alone in the development pipeline in this submarket’s core SPI-16 Zoning District at the end of 2017, with some 1.3 million square feet already underway. These figures come on the heels of the 596,000 square feet delivered since the beginning of 2016.

Design angles

John Portman & Associates’ design of Anthem Technology Center is intended to complement that of Coda, which it also designed. The design also reflects Anthem’s desire for space that supports a progressive and collaborative work style.

As part of Anthem’s emphasis on sustainability and indoor environmental quality, the design is LEED-certified, and also certified by Fitwel, a global health certification system for optimizing building design and operations.

The two halves of the building will be connected by two-story atriums, where employees can meet, as well as in a stairway that runs the length of the building, according to Garland.

“All of the Anthem floors are going to be connected by an internal staircase that will provide opportunities for spontaneous interactions among employees as they ‘bump in’ to one another as they walk from floor to floor,” he explains.

Anthem Technology Center incorporates around 14,000 square feet of elevated patio space, Garland said. At the base of the building, a 15-foot cantilever along the main facades allows the building envelope to be recessed at street level, creating more space for sidewalks and encouraging street-level activity and pedestrian circulation along West Peachtree and 4th streets.

The announcement of Anthem Technology Square comes almost exactly one year following Anthem’s announcement that it was establishing an information technology hub in Atlanta, and bringing more than 1,800 IT-related jobs over the next six years. The company leased six floors at Bank of America Plaza for the hub.

Anthem’s build-to-suit agreement with Portman Holdings for approximately 352,000 square feet in a 21-story custom-built office building is the Office Deal of the Year in Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Best in Atlanta Real Estate Awards.

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