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Buckhead resident aims to unite entrepreneurs at Atlanta Tech Village
by Caroline Young
May 29, 2013 12:22 PM | 2353 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Technology entrepreneurs have a new place to set up shop in Buckhead, thanks to fellow entrepreneur David Cummings, who created the Atlanta Tech Village at the corner of Piedmont and Lenox roads.

He bought the $12 million office building last fall at 3423 Piedmont Road in Buckhead after selling his marketing automation startup company, Pardot, for nearly $100 million last summer.

Cummings, 32, decided to create the village in an effort to get rid of the entrepreneurial “rite of passage,” he told members of the Buckhead Community Improvement District Tuesday at its monthly board meeting at Tower Place in Buckhead.

“[Entrepreneurs] can literally spend 100 to 200 hours of administrate stuff not adding value to their business,” he said. “The office space piece is difficult because the office space market is geared toward credit-worthy tenants that want a long-term lease, and they need predictability in their business.”

Cummings also said he wanted to change the loneliness and pressure related to entrepreneurship, and build more camaraderie.

“The best thing to do is to surround yourself with peers going through a similar type situation,” he said. “Entrepreneurs want to be around each other.”

With 93,000 square feet of useable office space in the building, Cummings said the village is “the largest co-working space in the Southeast.”

Two-hundred and five memberships were sold thus far, he said, the memberships are $325 per person per month, and include food and drink, plus ping pong tables in the basement.

Cummings said the village has no competition because there is no other high-quality place in town to start a new business, for a reasonable price.

“The majority of tech companies go out of business in the first five years,” he said.

Cummings searched far and wide, he said, to find the best location for his new endeavor but thought Buckhead was best.

“People said you have to go look in Midtown and west Midtown,” he said. “It’s great because it bridges the gap between the intown crowd and the professionals in the northern suburbs. … A tech company isn’t five guys with hoodies and flip-flops building the next Facebook. It takes people from all backgrounds and all locations.”

Cummings also said he is aiming to “activate the streetscape,” and make the building and its surrounding area more walkable and bikeable.

“We want a lot more greenspace … and people to be able to work outside,” he said.

Denise Starling, executive director of Livable Buckhead, a nonprofit dedicated to adding greenspace to the community, said she is pleased Cummings wants to enhance the area.

He said the village will create 10,000 jobs over the next 10 years.

In other news, the board unanimously approved $2 million to be used in any way toward the construction of the Ga. 400 trail, PATH400, which is estimated to cost about $12.5 million.

“I always thought $2 million should be what our share should be,” said Jim Durrett, the district’s executive director. “I think is the appropriate level of total funding for construction.”

The district initially put $750,000 into the design of the trail.

“Everything is on track,” said Denise Starling, executive director of the nonprofit Livable Buckhead, which led the initiative to create the trail. “The key was making sure the legislative track wasn’t getting us off track with design that was going so smoothly.”

Construction of segment one of the path, running from Lenox Road to Old Ivy Road, will begin in January and last for 14 months, Starling said, and its construction cost is $2.8 million.

So far, she said the PATH Foundation committed $3.2 million and the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank gave $750,000 toward construction.

Livable Buckhead hired the Alexandra Haas consulting firm to work on a capital campaign to raise the remainder of the funds, which will take about a year to develop, Starling said.

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