THE TECHNOLOGY CITY OF THE SOUTH
Alpharetta is a fast-growing, engaging city with a real sense of community & lifestyle
At the height of the dot.com boom at the turn of the millennium, the city of Alpharetta was witness to a modern-day gold rush, as telecom companies raced to lay down hundreds of miles of state-of-the-art fiber optic cables all over the town, strategically located just 22 miles outside Atlanta.
Almost 20 years later, this rapidly growing city is continuing to reap the benefits of those visionary investments in super-fast communications networks. More than 640 technology companies have chosen to call Alpharetta home, including four of the 10 largest tech businesses in Georgia. As well as giant conglomerates, increasing numbers of start-ups are relocating from Silicon Valley to Alpharetta, where venture capital funds last longer, there is a thriving talent pool of qualified personnel, and the quality of life is just as high as in California.
“As well as our leadership in terms of technology infrastructure, we have created an environment here in which start-ups can thrive,” says David Belle Isle, the Mayor of Alpharetta.
To enhance the support available for entrepreneurs, in 2015 the city of Alpharetta and the Alpharetta Development Authority opened the Alpharetta Innovation Center, which is currently delivering more than 60 start-ups with co-working spaces, meeting rooms, mentoring and above all with a real sense of community.
“The Alpharetta Innovation Center aims to provide a platform for people to grow their business, make connections, get mentorship and training, and then hopefully stay here in Alpharetta or the region,” says Peter Tokar, the city’s Economic Development Director. “We want Alpharetta to be known as a city where innovation happens, around the country, and hopefully one day around the globe.”
Next year, the city will take a major step forward in its mission of becoming a truly global start-up hub, with the official opening of Alpharetta’s very own conference center. Located in the so-called “fiberhood” of the city’s high-end Avalon district, the center is set to put Alpharetta on the technology conference circuit and attract even greater numbers of start-ups to Georgia. Even before the formal opening, conferences are already being planned for the agritech, fintech and health IT sectors.
As well as making Alpharetta the go-to place in Georgia for technology corporations and entrepreneurs, Mayor Belle Isle has also made it a priority to build a real sense of community among the 65,000 people who live in the city. “We want to make Alpharetta an irresistible city, a city that people love, feel connected to, feel their own and never want to leave,” Belle Isle says.
City authorities are connecting Alpharetta’s various leisure regions — Avalon, Haynes Bridge and the vibrant downtown district— with multi-use trails and bicycle-sharing schemes. Dozens of new restaurants and boutique stores are opening all over town, while major entertainment venues have also opened their doors to a public eager to enjoy music and the arts.
As Alpharetta becomes an increasingly lively and engaging community, older millennials are now moving here to start their own families. With four of the top 10 schools in Georgia serving Alpharetta, and thousands of new townhouses under construction, the city regularly tops the rankings of desirable places to relocate.
“We have added a whole series of community amenities that make Alpharetta more than just a great tech destination,” Peter Tokar says. “It is also a very liveable city, with tons to do for everybody who wants to come here.”