Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Invest Atlanta, and MARTA announced the grand opening of the iVillage @ MLK. The project houses a mix of local entrepreneurs in innovative office space to help them launch businesses and test new ideas along the MLK Corridor. The iVillage @ MLK is the first shipping container village in the City of Atlanta and a model for future innovation spaces in the city.
Announced in December 2017, iVillage @ MLK houses eight small businesses that are expected to create approximately 20-25 jobs along MLK Drive. The shipping container development is designed to give small businesses the opportunity to grow and scale in an underserved community. By providing an affordable, transit-oriented office and retail option for local entrepreneurs, iVillage @ MLK aims to create a unique, equitable opportunity for entrepreneurs who are interested in starting a business in the City of Atlanta.
“To build thriving neighborhoods, communities, and businesses throughout the city, we need to think creatively about how we utilize space and ensure it serves the needs of our neighborhoods and residents,” said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “The iVillage @ MLK is a great example of partners coming together to create a place that brings opportunity and vibrancy to this community. Entrepreneurs are a cornerstone of Atlanta’s business ecosystem, and we are excited to be providing an opportunity for them to grow and become job creators.”
Although this is the first project of its kind in the City of Atlanta, container villages have been launched around the world. Cities including Las Vegas, London, Copenhagen, and San Francisco have developed container villages to create new, affordable retail or living space. Innovative developments like these around the world have been successful in not only economic growth, but also creating a greater sense of place within communities.
“The iVillage @ MLK is more than a new place for small businesses to locate, it is part of a larger strategy to bring economic investment and equity to key commercial corridors throughout the city,” said Dr. Eloisa Klementich, President and CEO at Invest Atlanta. “Locating the iVillage @ MLK within the community and adjacent to rapid transit creates a sense of place and connectivity for residents and iVillage tenants alike. It exemplifies how we can work in partnership to create economic opportunities and places where entrepreneurs can build their dreams.”
iVillage @ MLK is part of the City of Atlanta’s larger effort to continue investing in Westside communities, especially along the MLK Drive Corridor. In 2016, the city was awarded a $10 million TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help improve MLK Drive. That grant is part of a $22.7 million effort to improve mobility and increase access to transit, employment centers, and services along MLK.