Pandora expands in Atlanta; relocates to Atlantic Station

Posted on March 18, 2013

Internet radio service Pandora is tuning into Atlantic Station.

Oakland, Calif.-based Pandora (NYSE: P) confirmed it is expanding its Atlanta office and will lease 3,000 square feet at 271 17th. Street — a 25-story office tower that anchors Midtown’s Atlantic Station.

Atlantic Station, a nationally recognized 138-acre retail, office and condo redevelopment in is attracting tech and digital media tenants.

Last fall, mobile payments startup Square— launched by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey— took nearly 5,000 square feet at another Atlantic Station office tower. And in January 2012, ad agency Ogilvy & Matherconsolidated its Atlanta operations to 271 17th. Street.

Pandora has a regional advertising and sales operation in Atlanta, spokeswoman Molly Starr said, declining to disclose how many employees it has in the city. A LinkedIn search revealed Pandora has about 10 Atlanta-based employees.

“We are growing our local sales team a lot, ” Starr said. “Advertising is largely a local business, it’s why we expand into local markets.”

Pandora, which reported $427.1 million in revenue in fiscal 2013, has a sales presence in more than 28 major markets.

“Pandora has been hiring top talent in local radio markets to further increase our share of the $15 billion radio ad market,” former CEO Joe Kennedy noted in an earning’s statement March 17. .

Several West Coast tech companies have sales offices in Atlanta because of the region”s concentration of Fortune 1000 headquarters, its central location and proximity to East Coast customers.

Facebook is growing its Atlanta sales operations and moved into a new 5,000-square-foot office in Midtown in 2011. Twitter — has a sales team in Atlanta and more than 100,000 square feet of data center space near downtown Atlanta.

While Pandora’s Starr did not say if the company plans to bring engineering work to the city, it would make sense.

For Pandora, mobile appears to be the future. Seventy five percent of Pandora’s more than 67 million monthly active listeners access the service on mobile devices.

Atlanta is a mobile technology hub. The region has about 24,000 mobile app development jobs, creating an economic impact of just over $1 billion, according to the Metro Atlanta Chamber.

The region is home to dozens of mobile technology firms, including AirWatch, AT&T’s wireless unit, which suggests the regional has the technical talent and educational base to support mobile-centric companies such as Pandora.

Pandora, which will relocate from Colony Square, chose Atlantic Station for its proximity to public transit and freeways; and entertainment, retail and dining options, Starr said.

Atlantic Station is trying to attract the “creative class,” said Mark Toro, managing partner atNorth American Properties, which manages the development. Toro is referring to the creative professionals that knowledge economy companies are targeting.

Atlantic Station’s live-work-play environment and MARTA connectivity are attractive to the 20-something professionals who abhor commutes.

“The most covered status symbol among Gen Y and the creative class is not owning the car,” Toro said.

Being located in a trophy office tower also makes it easier for Pandora to recruit talent. 271 17th Street, better known as the BB&T building is the tallest office tower in Atlantic Station and overlooks Interstate 85 and the Midtown and Downtown skyline.

Urvaksh Karkaria, Atlanta Business Chronicle.