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March 24, 2015

The Georgia CCIM Chapter hosted its March luncheon at the Atlanta Metro Chamber of Commerce (MAC) on March 12 with senior director of technology industry development, Gregg Simon (@greggsimon), as the featured speaker. 

Simon, who brings almost 20 years of economic development experience to the Chamber, spoke on the various factors that influence current businesses to stay and expand in Atlanta, as well as the reasons new businesses are attracted to the city. 

With a program called “Forward Atlanta,” the city has seen success growing existing businesses, as well as working with incubators to keep entrepreneurial companies here.  In addition, the Chamber and other Atlanta movers and shakers have wooed and won large companies looking to relocate, including Newell Rubbermaid and most recently Mercedes-Benz. 

“We can’t sell Atlanta if we don’t have a good product to sell,” said Simon. What are the factors we need to enhance as a city to ensure Atlanta’s continued growth, and fill existing real estate properties and new development projects?

1.     Transportation

  • The $250 million infrastructure bond referendum passed to extend MARTA, ease traffic, and fix crumbling roads and bridges – all important in retaining current businesses and attracting new employers.
2.    Labor force
  • While Atlanta is on track to add 80,000 jobs this year, the city’s unemployment rate is still higher than the rest of the United States.  This has its advantages to potential employers looking for skilled and available labor, but investment in our schools and future employees also is critical.
  • MAC is working with local universities to help keep graduates in Atlanta as potential employees for growing businesses.
  • In addition, MAC is working with incubators and organizations like the Technology Association of Georgia (@TAGthink) to support entrepreneurs with resources to keep them from taking their ideas to Silicon Valley.

Although Atlanta’s commercial real estate industry is growing at a rapid pace, these factors must continue to be addressed to continue the momentum. What else could Atlanta do to enhance the commercial real estate environment? Tell us @georgiaCCIM.

Don’t miss the next Georgia CCIM meeting in May – and check the website often for event updates.