Suburbia got a little more Midtown last week when Sandy Springs opened a new technology-focused, 24-hour collaboration space. Hailed as the Sandy Springs Innovation Center (SSIC), the coworking office embodies the spirit of teamwork both in function and origin.
Like any venture, the SSIC needed funding to get off the ground. Former Sandy Springs Chamber of Commerce chair Lever Stewart drove the charge, securing the project’s initial financing from the Sandy Springs Development Authority. A partnership with other public resources and private companies like Comcast Business and Cousins helped to secure the SSIC’s future.
Daniel J. DiLuzio, the goal for SSIC was not only to create a place to work, but also to build a resource center and cooperative space that benefits both established businesses and emerging entrepreneurs.
He went on to say that the facility’s convenient access to MARTA and the perimeter isn’t just lucky—it was intentional. The location at the heart of the central perimeter business center is meant to appeal to both commuters and younger millennial workers who are more likely to use public transportation.
In terms of established businesses, the SSIC is off to a big start. Fortune 500 companies WestRock and Vertiv have moved already moved in, along with the Sandy Springs Education Force, an organization that provides technology grants to local teachers.
Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul attended the ribbon cutting for the opening of the SSIC. Speaking at the event, Paul commented that he was excited to see a place with innovation at the heart of its mission.
“Innovation is Sandy Spring’s middle name,” Paul said. He sees the SSIC as an opportunity for the best minds in Sandy Springs to work together to create new technologies and services. In fact, he cited the open floor plan as a facilitator of communication between different organizations and team members.
Fourth district council member Gabriel Sterling also spoke. He picked up on Paul’s thread of collaboration and thought-sharing and highlighted the SSIC’s garden deck with its beverage cart, covered tables and games center. “When you look throughout history, and you have people with different ideas and perspectives coming together, that’s when you get the biggest ideas you can possibly have,” Sterling said.
Sterling’s vision for the SSIC goes beyond growing technology. He noted the lack of writer’s rooms outside New York and Los Angeles: “We want to bring writers here. Creative types…We need to have things that are across the board of intellectual property.”
Sterling went on to explain his ambition to expand Sandy Springs’ appeal and professional diversity. “We want to throw the widest possible net, because one of the most important drivers for jobs in any part of this country is innovation and small businesses.”
City council member Chris Burnett stated that he sees the SSIC as a way to put Sandy Springs on an equal playing field with Atlanta as a professional technology hub. “It’s the best of both worlds,” he said, pointing out the location’s accessibility to students of Georgia Tech via public transportation and the desirability of the area for growing families.
All the evening’s speakers were flush with praise for the contributions from private partners that allowed SSIC to come to fruition. When we spoke to Comcast representative Andy Macke, he said simply, “We were just proud to be in a position to make it happen,” said Andy Macke, Vice President, External Affairs for Comcast Big South.
Although the SSIC is not yet full, turnout for the grand opening event filled the large central room, suggesting that SSIC’s stakeholders will see their goals come to fruition and the 3,700-square-foot facility may soon have good cause to expand even further.