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Smart City Expo Atlanta — Putting Peachtree Corners on the Map

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What Makes a City “Smart?”

The advancement of technology coupled with rapid urbanization continues to press for local and state governments to create better solutions for urban development. Today’s metropolises are characterized by intelligent infrastructure, early-stage investments and open communication between residents and government. Smart cities leverage data to spur progress and inform better policies and processes. Can a city as relatively new and as small as Peachtree Corners be a smart city?

Does PTC Make the Grade?

City Manager Brian Johnson revealed how Peachtree Corners is uniquely positioned to have all the “smarts!” A lean operating budget, a perk of being a young city, allows for more “discretionary funds” with which the city is able to add value back to the community.

The Corners Connect app, already up and running, can tell you the local weather, traffic, events, sales, and soon it will even guide you to the nearest open parking spaces in Town Center and The Forum. Residents can pull up the app to report problems in real-time, put in a service request and then track its status. “Providing services and communication in a more convenient way for citizens,” that makes us a smart city.

If you choose to enable it, Peachtree Corners has the ability to geofence. That means the app knows your location once you cross into the corporate city limits and it can automatically send you helpful information. Internally, the city uses this to monitor and improve its delivery of services. This makes our city “smart” too, and I haven’t even mentioned the giant screen on the Town Green yet.

The city can turn on the 22 feet wide by 12.5 feet tall NanoLumens video wall and accompanying audio system in three seconds, at the request of a resident, as we witnessed during the recent World Cup Soccer games, when one resident asking resulted in a multitude of our neighbors gathering on the Town Green with friends to watch and enjoy the big games on the big LED display. It’s a testament to Peachtree Corners’ investment in smart city infrastructure.

Yet what gets Peachtree Corners a solid A+ is the important investment it has made in Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners. Johnson shared, “There are direct and indirect ways smart city technology is benefiting our residents. We look to stay at the cutting edge of smart city technology in a way that [is] both responsible and cost-effective…We haven’t borrowed any money to do it. We [don’t need] to implement city property taxes to do it, it’s within our budget. But it is providing a value add…that our residents are seeing now and will continue to see in the future.”

Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners

In keeping with its history to develop around technology, and the city’s slogan, “Innovative & Remarkable,” very soon, visitors and residents of Peachtree Corners may feel like they’re in an episode of the Jetsons as they find themselves driving alongside autonomous cars or otherwise novel vehicles on a 1.5 mile stretch of our roads in Technology Park. The vehicles are being tested by the ground-breaking Curiosity Lab — the first autonomous vehicle and smart city living laboratory and test track of its kind in the country, featuring “not just cutting edge, but bleeding-edge technology,” as City Manager Brian Johnson describes it.

This state-of-the-art testbed for smart city technologies is attracting movement to Peachtree Corners, which is precisely what city officials had envisioned.

Johnson explained, “We’re deploying the Lab as a way to attract activity to Peachtree Corners. That activity is what’s going to keep Peachtree Corners a great community, a community that has a healthy retail/restaurant climate, stable, high property values. It’s a place where people want to come work, live, learn and play because we’re giving people reasons to come to Peachtree Corners.”

The Curiosity Lab will draw businesses from across the country interested in testing the limits of their next-generation mobility technology in a real-world, 5G and IoT environment, unlike traditional closed tracks where everything is level, predictable, controlled and confined to a parking lot-type setting. According to Betsy Plattenburg, Executive Director of Curiosity Lab, they’ve had interest from delivery and logistics companies seeking to test the delivery of food and packages in an automated fashion, using both the roadway and potentially, the sidewalk.

She also mentioned talks with some interesting drone companies, adding: “Drones can use the infrastructure and are permitted to fly as long as they’re under 400 feet.” Most importantly, Plattenburg revealed, “We are just going to be making a public announcement next week that we are partnering with the Smart City Conference.”

If Curiosity Lab was born to attract activity to the city of Peachtree Corners, one might say it has already met with great success in its infancy. We’ll soon see Fira de Barcelona — the world’s leading conference on smart cities and smart urban solutions — cross the pond and arrive on our shores for the first ever American edition of Smart City Expo World Congress, debuting in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center from September 11 to 13, 2019. So how does Peachtree Corners get the spotlight in the midst of an international conference of such magnitude?

Johnson described a long-standing relationship between the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Fira de Barcelona. When Fira was looking to expand to regional conferences in Asia and North America, the Metro Atlanta Chamber welcomed the chance to make a pitch for Atlanta to host the inaugural smart cities conference in the U.S.

Having spoken in Barcelona last year, as part of the U.S. delegation there, Johnson’s pride could not be mistaken, “Smart City Expo Atlanta has recognized Peachtree Corners and the businesses that operate within our corporate limits, as being important to the greater metro Atlanta area and this conference.”

A 3D model of the 1.5 mile track that will be on display at the Smart City Expo Atlanta

Peachtree Corners to Kick Off Smart City Expo Atlanta

Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners has been named the official offsite demonstration location, in addition to having an important presence in the exhibition hall at the Congress Center. On the first day of the Expo: Wednesday, Sept. 11, 10-11:30 a.m., prior to the opening events at the Georgia World Congress Center, Expo attendees who purchased tickets to the Smart City Expo and signed up to attend the demo will have been bussed to Peachtree Corners City Hall on charter buses. There, they’ll witness live demonstrations of some avant-garde technology on our test track which allows for interaction with everyday vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

A number of state dignitaries are expected to be present, as this event will coincide with the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the inauguration and grand opening of Curiosity Lab. Afterwards, charter buses will return participants to the Georgia World Congress Center in time for the opening plenary of the Expo at 1 p.m.

What to Look Out For

The demo on September 11 should be something to behold. Plattenburg and her team put out a national casting call for companies who have “proven technology that is viewable,” in the interest of making the demo on the morning of the Smart City Expo more exciting.

Plattenburg described the test track: “The outside lane will become the test lane. The inside lanes will be where human drivers drive. So, it’s almost like a regular road exists in the middle, and the testers will be on the outside. They’ll be separated by flexible bollards. The road will be painted dramatically differently on the outside lanes, and there will be excessive signage, digital and otherwise, letting you know that you’re entering a test environment. So that people driving, the human drivers, you’ll know that something is different. The test vehicles will be there.”

“That should get people off their phones!” ■

Patrizia hails from Toronto, Canada where she earned an Honors B.A. in French and Italian studies at York University, and a B.Ed. at the University of Toronto. This trilingual former French teacher has called Georgia home since 1998. She and her family have enjoyed living, working and playing in Peachtree Corners since 2013.

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Transwestern Completes 100,000 Sf of Office Lease Transactions in Peachtree Corners

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Summit at Peachtree Parkway
Summit at Peachtree Parkway

Transwestern Real Estate Services (TRS) announces its Atlanta Agency Leasing team has executed more than 100,000 square feet of new leases at Summit at Peachtree Parkway, a 179,617-square-foot, six-story office building at 5550 Peachtree Parkway in Peachtree Corners, Georgia.

Transwestern Senior Managing Directors Chip Roach and Stephen Clifton, who provide exclusive leasing services on behalf of building owner OA Development, negotiated the following transactions:

  • Soliant Health LLC has executed a new lease for 58,734 square feet. Represented in the transaction by Sean Coughlin of C2 Partners LLC, the national healthcare staffing company occupies more than 32% of the building.
  • Teradata Operations LLC, a leading provider of data intelligence and analytics products and services, has executed a new lease for 25,771 square feet. The San Diego-based company was represented by Clinton McKellar of Cushman & Wakefield in the transaction.
  • Randstad Professionals US LLC, one of the world’s largest employee recruitment agencies, has executed a new lease for 9,467 square feet. Alison Bittel of Colliers represented the tenant in the transaction.
  • Capstone Hospice LLC, which services families in 18 Georgia counties, has executed a new lease for 5,347 square feet. Jeff Richardson and Jason Ferguson of CTR Partners represented the tenant in its relocation to the property. 
  • Carlson Design Group LLC, an architectural and engineering services firm, has executed a new lease for 3,852 square feet. Adomo Piccinni of Walbridge represented the tenant in the transaction.

“In 2019, we worked with ownership to complete renovations to the lobby, corridors and elevators, and add a new conference center and fitness facility with lockers and showers to the property’s already stellar amenity offerings,” said Roach. “These enhancements, as well as the building’s overall flexibility, have been extremely well received by prospects and tenants.”

Additional amenities at the property include a 10,000-square-foot, fully furnished patio overlooking basketball and volleyball courts, and covered parking for more than 50% of vehicles.

Summit at Peachtree Parkway is located minutes from Interstate 285, providing easy access to Buckhead, Midtown and downtown Atlanta. Adjacent to the future Peachtree Corners Technology Park Trail, the property is within 10 miles of more than 10 golf courses and country clubs, and less than a mile from the new 21-acre Peachtree Corners Town Center.

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World’s First Self-Driving E-Scooters Launch in Peachtree Corners

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Tortoise e-scooter

Teleoperated e-scooters will operate on public streets

In keeping with its long history of developing cutting-edge technologies, the city of Peachtree Corners announced the launch of a fleet of the world’s first teleoperated e-scooter to operate on public streets The e-scooters made their debut this week.

The city welcomed the opportunity to work with Tortoise and Go X, which combined forces to offer an e-scooter that has the ability, through the use of remote tele-operators, to reposition itself back to a safe parking spot – or to respond to a call (using the company’s app) for an e-scooter to be delivered right to a customer’s door. The e-scooters are repositioned by Tortoise’s remote teleoperators.

Peachtree Corners has been working with the two visionary companies to revolutionize e-scooter mobility for use in its city. The new technology solves two issues that have plagued the industry: 1) Finding a scooter – and 2) Returning scooters to a home base for safe parking, charging and cleaning.

The e-scooters make their debut in the city’s Technology Park Atlanta, a 500-acre existing technology park that is home to over 7,000 employees. The teleoperated e-scooters will be available for use by the general public and will operate on the city’s new 1.5-mile autonomous vehicle test track that runs alongside lanes used by the motoring public.

“We are excited to showcase this innovative technology,” said Mayor Mike Mason. “It’s another opportunity for the city to look beyond traditional transportation and seek innovative ways to improve mobility. We invite our citizens and the business community to see and experience this new technology.”

The initial pilot will run for six months and marks the first time ever that teleoperated e-scooters are deployed on public streets.

This is not the first time that the city has been the site of innovative transportation technologies. Last fall, Olli, the self-driving shuttle designed and built by Local Motors, began operating along the city’s 1.5-mile autonomous vehicle track. The test track is part of Curiosity Lab, the city’s living lab, which offers companies a facility to test emerging technologies in a real-world environment.

This latest venture into teleoperated e-scooters is part of the city’s drive to further expand its “smart city” technologies.

“An important goal for us was to ensure that residents can enjoy the convenience of using e-scooters, right here in Peachtree Corners,” said City Manager Brian Johnson. “As a reflection of our commitment to making cities smarter, we didn’t hesitate to partner with Tortoise to launch the first-ever fleet of self-driving e-scooters for public use. We are extremely pleased to be a partner in this innovative and world-changing technology.”

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Thompson Ehle to Move to New Offices at 2 Sun Court

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2 Sun Court Peachtree Corners GA

Thompson Ehle Company, a construction management and engineering firm, plans to relocate to new offices at 2 Sun Court, a 98,040-square-foot, Class-A office.

Lincoln Property Company Southeast’s Matt Davis and Matt Fergus represented the owner, Redline Property Partners. CBRE’s Kevin Carroll represented the tenant.

Thompson Ehle Company is a provider of construction management, fire protection, mechanical and electrical engineering services with offices in Atlanta, Ga. and Houston, Texas. Later this year, the company will take occupancy, relocating from its current Peachtree Corner’s office at 50 Technology Parkway.

“We are continuing to see ongoing interest in the Peachtree Corners submarket from a number of top-tier tenants,” said Lincoln’s Davis. “With best-in-class amenities, Redline is committed to offering an exceptional office experience at great value for tenants of 2 Sun and we are pleased that Thompson Ehle has chosen to relocate to the building.”

Ownership recently completed building-wide renovations to the lobby, corridors, common areas, elevators and restrooms, as well as creating an outdoor tenant lounge. Redline has also redesigned and upgraded the original base building systems, installed Wi-Fi connected meeting spaces and incorporated on-site food delivery programs featuring weekly revolving food trucks. Four vacant spaces remain available at the building, ranging in size from 3,154 square feet to 10,227 square feet.

“We tailored our renovation of 2 Sun to meet the needs of today’s tenants in our quest to deliver an improved property that provides exceptional experience at great value,” said Andrew Webb, principal of Redline. “We are honored to be adding Thompson Ehle to the building’s existing group of high quality tenants.”

Source: Press release from Lincoln Property Company Southeast

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