An­them tower in Mid­town a salvo in the war for tal­ent

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - BUSINESS - By J. Scott Trubey strubey@ajc.com

The par­ent com­pany of Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans to move the At­lanta soft­ware hub it an­nounced last year to a new Mid­town of­fice tower near Tech­nol­ogy Square.

Health in­sur­ance gi­ant An­them said Thurs­day the com­pany will an­chor a 21-story of­fice tower by de­vel­oper Port­man Hold­ings at Fourth and West Peachtree streets that should open by 2020. An­them made waves last Oc­to­ber when it an­nounced plans to put a soft­ware cen­ter in the city’s tallest tower, Bank of Amer­ica Plaza, and add 1,800 jobs.

The new Mid­town tower will of­fer the com­pany room for po­ten­tial fu­ture ex­pan­sion to 3,000 IT pro­fes­sion­als, a spokes­woman said.

Tom Miller, An­them chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer, said as the com­pany be­gan hir­ing for its soft­ware cen­ter, it learned that each two new hires cre­ated an ad­di­tion role for a con­tract IT or con­sult­ing po­si­tion to aid in the tech hub’s mis­sion.

That has cre­ated the need for more space than could be sup­plied at Bank of Amer­ica Plaza.

At­tract­ing top-flight tal­ent from Ge­or­gia Tech and ac­cess­ing their re­search ca­pa­bil­i­ties were cru­cial parts of the de­ci­sion, Miller said. At­lanta’s cost-of-liv­ing, work­force and glob­ally con­nected air­port also were ma­jor fac­tors.

In the tech­nol­ogy world, skilled coders and en­gi­neers of­ten move from one com­pany to the next, col­lect­ing ex­per­tise as they go. The Tech Square area is build­ing a deep ecosys­tem of skilled work­ers, Miller said.

“A lot of the tal­ent we are look­ing for to­day are the same sorts of tal­ent ev­ery­one is look­ing for,” Miller said.

The an­nounce­ment puts an­other blue-chip name on the doorstep of Ge­or­gia Tech. NCR is in the process of de­vel­op­ing a new head­quar­ters cam­pus nearby, and com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Sage Soft­ware, World­pay and Honey­well have lo­cated ma­jor cor­po­rate of­fices and tech hubs in Mid­town in re­cent years to tap into the re­search power and tal­ent of Ge­or­gia Tech.

Last month, global con­sul­tancy Ac­cen­ture an­nounced a new in­no­va­tion hub and 800 new jobs at Tech Square

Travis Gar­land, the head of leas­ing for Port­man, said the 10-square-block area is among the hottest in the city for ex­pan­sion by creative class com­pa­nies. There’s an en­ergy that isn’t seen in other parts of the city and com­pa­nies want a re­cruit­ing edge.

“It’s very im­por­tant for com­pa­nies to be as close as pos­si­ble to Tech Square,” he said.

Last month, the board of In­vest At­lanta ap­proved a $5 mil­lion tax break for Port­man for the $105 mil­lion tower. At the time, of­fi­cials said the project in­cluded new jobs for the re­gion but de­clined to iden­tify the ten­ant.

The project is ad­ja­cent to Coda, the new tower Port­man is build­ing at Tech Square that in­cludes re­search space for Ge­or­gia Tech, high-powered com­put­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties and of­fice space for cor­po­ra­tions.

Am­br­ish Baisi­wala, CEO of Port­man Hold­ings, said the An­them of­fice project and Coda speaks to Tech Square’s power “in bring­ing to­gether tal­ent, tech­nol­ogy, in­no­va­tion and com­merce.”

CON­TRIB­UTED

Health in­sur­ance gi­ant An­them will an­chor a 21-story Mid­town of­fice tower at Fourth and West Peachtree streets by de­vel­oper Port­man Hold­ings that should open by 2020. The tower will of­fer the com­pany room for ex­pan­sion to 3,000 IT pro­fes­sion­als, a spokes­woman said.

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