For some tech companies, the ‘burbs still work.
Consider technology company Clearleap, which recently completed the lease for its Duluth headquarters, choosing to grow in the suburbs rather than come intown. Clearleap is relocating from a single story office complex on Sugarloaf Parkway. It’s moving to 3100 Breckinridge Blvd., where it will occupy 50,000 square feet, with options for more space as it continues to expand. It plans to relocate in August.
Atlanta Business Chronicle earlier this year reported the company would make the move.
Clearleap might be going a bit against the grain. The past few years have seen technology companies with suburban operations relocate inside the Perimeter such as Athenahealth Inc. (Ponce City Market) and the IT unit of Coca-Cola Enterprises (SunTrust Plaza). Most recently, Norcross-based RentPath was looking for up to 100,000 square feet in Buckhead and Midtown.
Building owners in the central business district have responded to the demand from technology companies, offering more flexible space for startups and incentives for the fast-growing tech companies.
Clearleap CEO Braxton Jarratt acknowledged Atlanta’s tech sector is having an impact on the city, but a move intown doesn’t make sense for every company. Clearleap needed the flexibility to expand, as it’s doubling its headcount in less than a year. When it considered new buildings, it had more options to continue its growth in the suburbs. “We looked at our employee base and our growth, and our conclusion was this location made the best sense,” Jarratt said.
Intown office space is expensive, and some tech companies sacrifice room for access to the city’s amenities and culture. Jarratt countered, “You can create a lot of culture inside your own offices.”
Clearleap plans to add more common areas and its own amenities, such as “creative rooms” where employees can brainstorm or get away and relax. The company will also maintain a small office at Atlantic Station in Midtown that gives it a presence in the city’s arts and entertainment center next to Georgia Tech.