Science Square District Moves Forward

Biosciences innovation district to attract redevelopment
dollars to Atlanta and the Westside community.

ATLANTA (September 9, 2022) — The biosciences innovation district known as “Science Square” is ready to break ground. This latest development is an important step in Georgia Tech’s role in strengthening the region’s innovation ecosystem, through development of a biotechnology-focused innovation district on the southwest portion of the university’s campus.

Science Square (formerly known as Technology Enterprise Park, or “TEP”) is located at the southeast corner of Northside Drive and North Avenue, adjacent to the Vine City/English Avenue neighborhoods on Atlanta’s westside.

Georgia Tech’s newest inclusive innovation district will focus on biomedical innovation, digital health, advanced manufacturing, and medical device development. As a hub, Science Square will be a natural location for startups in the health and bioscience sectors spinning out from area schools, including Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Emory University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, Spelman, and Clark Atlanta University.

“We want this project to be a resource for residents of the surrounding communities,” said Chris Burke, Georgia Tech’s executive director of community relations. “We’re looking at this project as potentially providing residents the opportunity to go from cradle to career in one place.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded Georgia Tech a Science and Research Park Development Grant in 2014. The $460,707 grant was used to study the feasibility of expanding Science Square into a mixed-use innovation and research campus.

Breaking ground on the first two buildings are just the initial steps in the creation of Science Square.  At full build-out in 2030, Science Square is projected to support more than 5,000 jobs across 2.2 million square feet of new lab and research facilities, office space, and apartments.  Currently, one building is located on the site. The “TEP 1” building, which opened in 2007, includes 120,000 square feet of wet labs, clean rooms, and office space. The Northyards (office lofts and event space) and T3 Labs bound the east side of the Science Square site.

“We wanted to research, analyze, and envision what Science Square could be and create a collaborative and shared vision with the community,” said Tony Zivalich, executive director of the Georgia Tech Real Estate Office. “The EDA grant was critical in facilitating our ability to do this foundational work and move forward to where we are today.”

Now the Build to Scale (B2S) Program, the Science and Research Park Development Grants were part of the Regional Innovation Strategies program, which was run by the EDA Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and designed to advance innovation and capacity-building activities in regions across the country. Located in the Westside tax allocation district (TAD) and part of a federal Opportunity Zone (OZ), the study was supported by Invest Atlanta and The University Financing Foundation (TUFF), which served as partners on the study.

“The EDA grant provided us with an exceptional opportunity for Georgia Tech and the city of Atlanta to help create jobs in fast-growing sectors like bio and life sciences, and build economic opportunity for the city’s Westside,” said Leigh Hopkins, a senior project manager with the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Georgia Tech’s chief economic development arm and state EDA University Center. Hopkins co-led the feasibility study.

“The EDA grant allowed us to a conduct comprehensive analysis of the area, work with the communities around it, assess our strengths and focus on our best opportunities and potential for creating Atlanta’s next innovation neighborhood,” Hopkins said.

About Science Square (formerly Technology Enterprise Park)
Home to a cluster of emerging and established technology concerns, entrepreneurs, and researchers focused on accelerating biomedical innovation, digital health, advanced manufacturing and medical devices, Science Square offers a unique setting on Atlanta’s west side, adjacent to the Georgia Tech campus. This inclusive innovation district represents a unique research and innovative platform in a dynamic urban setting. To learn more about Science Square, visit:

About the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2)
The Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), the Georgia Institute of Technology’s economic development unit, serves all of Georgia through a variety of services and programs that create, accelerate, and grow Georgia’s tech-based economy. It is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-based economic development organization. EI2’s expertise and reach is global; its innovation, entrepreneurship, and ecosystem development programs serve governments, universities, nonprofits, and other organizations worldwide. In 2019, EI2served more than 9,599 businesses, communities and entrepreneurs who reported startup investment capital exceeding $456 million and created or saved 16,304 jobs. EI2’s total 2019 financial impact exceeded $2.96 billion. For more information, visit

City of Cedartown Selected for Revitalization Initiative

Georgia Tech’s Economic Development Research Program Selects City of Cedartown for Revitalization Initiative

Six-month project to help city develop, plan short and long-term
economic development goals for job growth, downtown revitalization

ATLANTA— The Economic Development Research Program (EDRP) at the Georgia Institute of Technology is working with Cedartown to help a coalition of civic and business leaders develop a strategic assessment plan to guide the city’s economic development efforts.

The strategic assessment process with the northwest Georgia city includes a comprehensive analysis of the community, which will include interviews with local partners and regional stakeholders in surrounding Polk County. The completed assessment will also guide downtown redevelopment and business attraction efforts.

The project began in January 2022 and is expected to take six months to complete.

“The EDRP’s core mission is to provide research that will help propel communities into a more competitive position, and this strategic assessment is one of the first steps in that process for the city of Cedartown,” said Candice McKie, EDRP project manager. “Ultimately, this assessment will help guide downtown redevelopment efforts and align them with Cedartown’s vision, leverage its assets, and maximize small business and job growth objectives.”

The assessment’s findings will help define Cedartown’s strengths and areas of opportunity, and provide a preliminary vision to guide the city on attainable, effective actions to reach its short and long-term economic development goals. The strategic assessment will also aid Cedartown as it prepares its application to obtain “Rural Zone” designation from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

As Polk’s county seat, Cedartown falls within the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission area, a 15-county body that provides several services to its member jurisdictions, including aging programs, workforce development, transportation, and local/regional planning.

Located about an hour’s drive west of Atlanta, Cedartown is roughly nine square miles in area and home to about 10,000. Incorporated as a city in 1854, Cedartown’s downtown district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places due to its distinctive 1890s-era architectural style. The community’s outdoor attractions and amenities include Big Spring (the South’s largest natural limestone spring) and the Silver Comet Trail.

Even with Cedartown’s cultural and natural amenities, local officials say the city is ready for revitalization. That desire fueled their drive to apply to the EDRP for assistance in creating a downtown redevelopment plan.

“This is a tremendous program, and we are blessed to be a part of it. Having a strategic assessment plan will allow us to stay focused on our goals for downtown revitalization,” said Cedartown City Commission Chairman Andrew Carter. “This effort will open the door to new business and employment opportunities. Georgia Tech is a great partner to have and we’re really looking forward to studying the data they will provide us.”

Funded through a U.S. Economic Development Administration University Center grant, EDRP serves rural and economically distressed communities in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Powered by Georgia Tech’s Center for Economic Development Research, EDRP leverages Tech’s assets to help communities engineer economic development success through affordable, in-depth research.

Communities that apply for a research grant must commit local funds, based on their capacity. That local funding maximizes resources and ensures community involvement through all research project phases. Some recent EDRP studies include projects in Meriwether, Twiggs, and Walker counties.

About the Economic Development Research Program (EDRP)
EDRP is Georgia Tech’s signature program for providing affordable economic development research and analysis capacity for communities that need it the most.  EDRP is funded through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s University Center grant program (Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute is a designated EDA University Center).  EDRP is available to eligible communities across eight southeastern U.S. states. To learn more, visit

Southwest Georgia Strategic Planning

Since the Great Recession, rural downtowns across the country have undergone a renaissance. While larger communities typically have physical amenities that draw talent, the overall cost of living to be “close to everything” can be burdensome. Now during the COVID-19 pandemic, rural communities are beginning to realize the certain advantages and potential for attracting talent that can work just about anywhere with the right infrastructure. Recognizing the opportunity to capitalize on their assets, the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission (SWGRC) contracted with the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for Economic Development Research (CEDR) to conduct a strategic plan to use as a roadmap to pursue the region’s economic development goals.

The Southwest Georgia region has been hit hard because of natural disasters, and more recently, sustained a significant community impact during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. During October 2018, Hurricane Michael impacted more than 20,000 businesses in Georgia. According to FEMA, southern Georgia sustained approximately $3 billion in damages in the agriculture industry alone (according to estimates from the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service and Georgia Forestry Commission). Most recently, several Southwest Georgia counties reported the highest COVID-19 case count per 100,000 people in the state, while unemployment claims had risen over 4,000 percent during April 2020. Under the CARES Act, the SWGRC is conducting this strategic plan to prioritize the region’s most pressing economic needs, and to help inform their short and long-term economic resilience strategies. These strategies will assist the SWGRC in developing public-private partnerships, as it strives to revitalize key industry sectors and attract people and investment.

As an EDA University Center, Georgia Tech is uniquely positioned to assist communities throughout the Southeast on various economic development initiatives. The Economic Development Research Program (EDRP) is Georgia Tech’s signature program for providing affordable economic development research and analysis capacity for communities that need it the most. CARES Act Recovery Assistance and EDRP are funded through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s University Center grant program and administered by Georgia Tech. These funds are available to eligible communities across eight southeastern U.S. states.

Cost of Community Services in Effingham County, GA

The Effingham County Industrial Development Authority wanted a better understanding of both the benefits and costs of growth. There is a growing body of empirical evidence that shows that commercial and/or industrial development can improve the financial situation of a local government. However, residential development, with its demands for local government services, often has the opposite effect. This study presents the cost of community services by land use for Effingham County, Georgia.

Economic Impact of the Atlanta Housing Authority (2014-2019)

Atlanta Housing (formerly called Atlanta Housing Authority) was founded in 1938 and is considered the very first and oldest housing authority in the United States. Today, Atlanta Housing (AH) is the largest housing agency in Georgia and one of the largest in the United States, serving approximately 50,000 people.

This report quantifies the economic impact of AH within the primary investment area of the City of Atlanta. Specifically, the economic impact was done for a period of 6 years – 2014 through 2019. This period was chosen because it corresponds to the end of the mortgage and credit crisis, and overall stabilization of the economy. The analysis is done for three major expenditure components – capital spending, operational spending, and housing subsidy payments (which are a sub-component of operational spending). This research will provide a baseline from which future planning decisions may be calculated and bench marked.

Fiscal Impact of the Georgia Agribusiness and Rural Jobs Tax Credit

This report examines the fiscal impact of the Georgia Agribusiness and Rural Jobs Act (GARJA).

The portfolio provided to the research team represented $100 million of investments that were made in 33 rural Georgia companies.  These investments were directly responsible for the creation, or retention, of more than 1,000 jobs across rural Georgia in various industries.  Combined, these jobs represent nearly $50 million in personal income in rural Georgia.

These jobs and their related economic activity are projected to generate $23.4 million annually for all levels of government across the state.  About $10.7 million of that is expected to accrue to the state. Conservatively assuming that no more jobs were created over the next 10 years in these businesses, the return ratio to the State of Georgia would be 1.56 after 10 years.  In other words, over a 10-year period, if these jobs are maintained, the state could expect to get back 56 percent more in revenue than it gave in credits.

The report can be found here.

Update: Rossville EDRP Project

At 1.2 million square feet, the 27-acre Peerless Mills site is the largest parcel in the heart of Rossville, Georgia. Located just three miles south of downtown Chattanooga in Tennessee, Rossville’s downtown revitalization will largely be shaped by the redevelopment of the Peerless property.  Since the Great Recession, rural downtowns across the country are undergoing a redevelopment renaissance. While larger communities like Chattanooga have amenities that draw talent, the cost of starting a business and the overall cost of living to be “close to everything” can be burdensome. Recognizing the opportunity to capitalize on their assets, the city of Rossville and the ReDev Workshop submitted an application to the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Economic Development Research Program (EDRP) for an assessment of their strategic priorities for the local government to use as a roadmap to pursue the city’s economic development goals. The objective is not to re-invent the wheel, but to suggest actions that will enable the city of Rossville to prioritize its most pressing needs, and to help enhance and strengthen the work of the ReDev Workshop.

Most of Rossville, including the Peerless Mills site, is located in a federally designated Opportunity Zone (OZ), which encourages private investors to take an equity stake in economic development through local businesses, real estate, or development projects in exchange for a reduction in tax liability over time. However, Rossville has not yet seen this infusion of much needed private investment from the OZ program. With this in mind, Georgia Tech recommended that Rossville focus on improving its public stormwater infrastructure and activate its downtown development association (DDA), which would provide a strong foundation for the eventual redevelopment of the Peerless Mills complex and facilitate other development in the city. 

Outcomes of the Study: Rossville was recently designated by DCA as a “Rural Zone” community

EDRP is Georgia Tech’s signature program for providing affordable economic development research and analysis capacity for communities that need it the most. EDRP is funded through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s University Center grant program. EDRP is available to eligible communities across eight southeastern U.S. states. Applications are currently being accepted to EDRP, please apply here.

EDRP Launch: City of Rossville

In August 2018, the City of Rossville, GA submitted a proposal for a grant through the Economic Development Research Program (EDRP). The proposal presented a case for the development of a “Strategic Priorities Assessment” to prioritize projects that will bring greater investment into the city based on its evident strength in location, real and tourism estate assets, and proximity to a regional economic hub. The Strategic Priorities Assessment will be directed towards providing recommendations for building the capacity of the citizen-run Rossville Redevelopment Workshop to take advantage of the new federal Opportunity Zone designation, and undertake community redevelopment initiatives in the city.

The City of Rossville, GA is located in the Chattanooga, TN-GA Metropolitan Statistical Area, situated in a valley between Missionary Ridge to the east and the Lookout Mountain to the west. With a population of 4,105 and a median household income of $32,182 (FY2015), Rossville has experienced an increase in its poverty rate and decrease in job growth over the years. Downtown Rossville is ripe for improvement – the 27-acre, 1 million square foot abandoned Peerless Woolen Mill is situated in the heart of the city. However, the City’s access to highways and interstates and proximity to the Chattanooga area and other tourism assets provide an opportunity for leveraging and supplementing the City’s capacity to undertake economic development programs.

The City of Rossville’s proposal was selected for its innovativeness, magnitude of project impact, level of engagement displayed by the city government and local populace, and finally its probability for success given available resources and funding. To develop a plan that builds on the strengths and provides the capacity to overcome extant challenges, this EDRP project will utilize the skills and energies of Georgia Tech researchers, state and local officials, and build on the expertise of resource development specialists to complement previous and current efforts in the City of Rossville to foster a healthier economy and to better the quality of life for its residents. The project with Rossville began in November 2018 and will be complete in May 2019. The plan will include research, community engagement, support the development of public-private partnerships, and provide data-driven recommendations that will facilitate their decision-making process for community redevelopment.

About EDRP: In 2017, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) a five-year EDA University Center designation to leverage the university’s assets to build regional economic ecosystems that support high-growth entrepreneurship, and improve community capacity to achieve and sustain economic growth. EI2 uses the EDA University Center grant funds awarded through their designation to administer EDRP. Through strategic planning studies, forecasting, feasibility studies, readiness assessments, economic impact analysis, and labor market studies, the program strives to inform policy decisionmaking, and to help governments and economic development organizations carry out their mission.

For project-related questions, contact:

Leigh Hopkins

Phone: 404-894-0933 | Fax: 404-410-6910

Email: ude.hcetag.etavonninull@snikpoh.hgiel

Washington County EDRP Study

In October 2018, CEDR completed a labor study for the Development Authority of Washington County. Due to the winning application submitted by the DAWC officials last year, this study was funded by a research grant through Georgia Tech’s Economic Development Research Program (EDRP).

This research evaluated the types of jobs available to the community, the skills held by members of the labor force, and the skills and training required by DAWC’s focus industries – Poultry, Forestry, and Manufacturing. CEDR assessed workforce supply and demand through analysis of demographic data, commuting patterns, and industry and occupation data. Local industries offered valuable insights to their hiring, talent attraction, and talent retention needs through interviews. Study results led to several recommendations for DAWC officials in the areas of workforce development and retention, industry engagement and educational partnerships, and community development.

For project-related questions, contact:
Candice McKie
Phone: 404-385-2053| Fax: 404-410-6910
Email: ude.hcetag.etavonninull@eikcm.ecidnac

The Fiscal Impact of SunTrust Park at The Battery Atlanta on Cobb County

This report examines the fiscal impact that the new home of the Atlanta Braves, SunTrust Park, and The Battery Atlanta has on Cobb County, Georgia as well as the Cobb County School System.   The report looks at the $300 million public contribution as well as the millions of dollars the county contributes annually to capital maintenance and operating costs.  It also looks at the $800 million of fully-taxable private investment that the Braves directly injected into the local economy through a mixed-use, fully-planned development, and answers the question, “does this level of guaranteed private investment change the calculus for public financing of a stadium?”

A graphic overview can be found here.

The Executive Summary can be found here.