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Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners Wins Smart Cities Award

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Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners

City’s project wins IDC Government Insights transportation category.

The city’s 5G-enabled 1.5-mile autonomous vehicle test track and smart city laboratory, Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners, was named the winner in the transportation category in the third annual IDC Smart Cities North America Awards (SCNAA) for its connected and autonomous vehicles project.

Curiosity Lab was one 11 category winners receiving awards for a wide range of categories including civic engagement, smart buildings, adaptive signal control technology and transportation. The awards recognize the progress North American communities have made in executing smart cities projects. The award recipients were selected following more than 2,500 votes.

“We are extremely proud that our city’s Curiosity Lab has been recognized for its efforts in advancing transportation through connected and autonomous vehicles,” said Mayor Mike Mason. “We have created an environment where new AV and smart city technologies can be tested and perfected. Our city is the first in the United States to offer a real-world test track for autonomous vehicle research.”

Winners in the SCNAA illustrate best practice examples of urban innovation with a particular focus on the use of technology (cloud, platforms, analytics, IoT, mobile solutions) and data, unique partnerships, funding models and/or community involvement.

“Curiosity Lab is a unique economic development investment that helps advance new technologies and grow the employment base of the city,” said Betsy Plattenburg, Curiosity Lab’s executive director. “We have had interest in testing from both startups and Fortune 500 companies.”

The winners illustrate how forward-thinking municipalities are effectively leveraging technology and innovation to offer new services and economic opportunities and to meet the needs and expectations of citizens and residents.

“It is clear from the overwhelming number of impressive responses we received, government
officials across the country are committed to implementing innovative Smart City Initiatives
designed to bring about meaningful changes to the way we live, work, play and interact,” said
Ruthbea Yesner, Vice President IDC Government Insights and Smart Cities Strategies.

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American Rescue Funds coming to small businesses

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small business administration

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is providing additional relief for the nation’s small businesses and hard-hit industries. Applications for funding are currently being accepted by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Shuttered venues, like movie theaters, as well as restaurants, may be eligible for grants through the SBA. There is also another round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).  In a separate measure, ARPA funds are expected to trickle down through the state of Georgia to local municipalities around July 1. The monies will be disseminated in two allocations, with the second coming 12 months after the first. Peachtree Corners is planning to offer another small business assistance grant program. Specific details are currently being finalized. For more information about the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, visit sba.gov

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City in line for positive retail growth and activity: From the Mayor’s Desk April 2021

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ptc town center
Peachtree Corners Town Center, photo courtesy of its Facebook page.

From the Mayor’s Desk                                                                            April 2021

Over the last year we have all seen how retail has been directly impacted by COVID-19. The pandemic acted as a closure catalyst for those retail and restaurant brands already struggling and put others at risk that run on thin margins. With that said, it is not all doom and gloom.

Peachtree Corners is fortunate to have two lifestyle centers in The Forum and Town Center along with other power centers anchored by Publix, Target, ALDI, and LA Fitness among others.

Categories like grocery, home improvement, general merchandise, pet supplies, and fast food all showed strong sales figures over the last 12 months. People were at home doing more DIY projects and buying more groceries to eat at home with their families. Take it from these headlines “Store openings are outpacing closures in 2020: Coresight”, “Retailers Now Opening More Stores Than They’re Closing”, and CNBC’s “Rent is Cheap, vacant space is everywhere: Retails seize the moment to open stores.”

Some property owners weathered the storm better than others. Take Bayer Properties, the Forum’s leasing and property management firm, for instance. Instead of taking below market rents and short-term leases during 2020, Bayer held out for stronger, higher-credit brands that will strengthen the center and give it long-term staying power which benefits Peachtree Corners.  They could have easily signed a tenant at a lower rent to fill vacancies, but that would have had an overall negative impact to the health of the center. Bayer has done a great job at looking long-term while simultaneously riding out the pandemic.

Retailers put a pause on new store openings and many struggled to get their product as manufacturing and shipping came to a halt. With that said, the 2020 pipeline of new stores was pushed to this year while many tenant reps are being tasked as we speak to add new markets and spaces to the 2022-2023 pipeline. Peachtree Corners is well-positioned with the current real estate available to take advantage of the new brands looking to expand in metro Atlanta.

Retail is constantly changing and the brands that adapt will thrive. So, as we work to stay on top of the ever-changing trends, Peachtree Corners will be well represented as restaurants and retail make their comeback.

-Mayor Mike Mason

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“Heroes Wanted: Why the world needs YOU to live your heart out” author speaks at May 7 SWGC Breakfast

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Southwest Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce First Friday Breakfast- May

Building Bridges… Connecting Businesses and Communities

About the speaker: Rodney Bullard

Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility- Chick-fil-A, Inc. and Executive Director, Chick-fil-A Foundation

Rodney leads the company’s corporate community and philanthropic strategy, which is focused on fostering youth and furthering education.  Prior to Chick-fil-A, Rodney served as an Assistant United States Attorney prosecuting complex criminal cases.  For his service, the United States Attorney General presented him with, one of the Department of Justice’s highest honors, the Director’s Award. Prior to this role, Rodney was selected as a White House Fellow, the nation’s most prestigious public service Fellowship.  As a White House Fellow, Rodney was placed at NASA working directly for the NASA Administrator.  A decorated veteran, Rodney also served in the United States Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps eventually working at the Pentagon as a Congressional Legislative Liaison in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force.
 
Rodney is a an alumnus of the United States Air Force Academy, Duke University School of Law, the University of Georgia’s Terry School of Business and the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.  

Rodney currently serves on several national and local boards of directors to include: the Salvation Army National Advisory Board of Directors, the University Of Georgia Terry School Of Business Board of Directors, the Junior Achievement USA National Board of Directors, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Foundation Board of Directors, The National Fellowship of Christian Athletes Board of Directors, and the Leadership Atlanta Board of Directors.  

A few of Rodney’s recent recognitions include: Recognition by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of Georgia’s top young Business Leaders for 2013; by the Atlanta Business League as one of the 2013 Men of Influence; The University of Georgia’s 2013 listing of the 40 alumni leaders under the age of 40; The Georgia Trend Magazine’s 2011 listing of the 40 Best and Brightest Leaders Under 40; Leadership Atlanta; Leadership Georgia; and, as one of 10 Outstanding Young Leaders in Atlanta for 2010. 

Location: Atlanta Tech Park 107 Technology Parkway Peachtree Corners, GA 30092

Date/Time Information: Friday, May 7

7:30- 8:00 AM – Networking

8:00- 9:00 AM – Breakfast and Speaker

Fees/Admission:
Includes a Breakfast Sandwich, Coffee & Juice

Register Prior to noon Thursday, May 6 to reserve your seat. $15  Members, $20  Non – Members 

Seating capacity will be limited. We will NOT be able to accommodate walkups and we will NOT be doing an online presentation of this event. When registering for this event please note if you are vegetarian to provide the appropriate quantities and selections for all attendees.

Cancellation Policy: You can cancel with a full refund by Wednesday noon May 5.  After that date no refunds will be given, but substitution of an attendee is allowed if you are not able to attend the day of the event.

Source: Southwest Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce

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