The wheels are officially turning on a mammoth office-conversion project that’s being called one of downtown Atlanta’s biggest growth opportunities and a potential model for urban redevelopment.
Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm, has issued a Request for Qualifications for converting the 2 Peachtree Street tower and its adjacent sibling building, 14 Marietta Street, into what project leaders are forecasting as a vibrant mix of housing for various incomes and other uses, such as office space and retail.
The developer-selection process is expected to take several months, according to Invest Atlanta officials. The broad goal is to “introduce dynamic new life to the city through the adaptive-reuse and residential conversion of the historic buildings,” per RFQ materials.
The city first announced its intentions in October to purchase 2 Peachtree—a 44-story, 890,000-square-foot landmark tower from 1966—from the State of Georgia and remake it into housing.
Currently occupied by Georgia State University, the seven-story, circa-1940 building next door was later added to the project mix, representing another 126,000 square feet of redevelopment opportunities.
According to Invest Atlanta, both buildings will be entirely vacated by the end of 2023, setting the stage for a major redevelopment project expected to coincide with MARTA's Five Points station overhaul down the block.
Invest Atlanta purchased both buildings in February for $41.5 million, using an Eastside Tax Allocation District Special Fund Grant and agreeing to hold the properties for the city until a redevelopment partner is picked.
As a next step, a series of question-and-answer sessions and 2 Peachtree property tours is expected to continue for several weeks, with a June 9 deadline for qualified firms to respond to the RFQ.
Invest Atlanta will then issue a Request for Proposals to developers deemed most qualified to tackle the office conversion. Those proposals will be due Sept. 1, and the selected developer will likely be granted a 99-year ground lease for the property.
According to the RFQ, developers are being encouraged to show plans that blend almost all potential uses: affordable housing, student housing, market-rate housing, and short-term residential, alongside retail, office, and hospitality uses.
At minimum plans should include 200 units for residents earning 80 percent of the area median income or less, according to Invest Atlanta.
The agency “will prioritize development proposals with more affordable units that blend and integrate all income levels throughout the property in a cohesive fashion,” per an April announcement.
The 2 Peachtree tower opened in 1966 as the Southeast’s tallest building, and it remained the tallest in Atlanta until John Portman’s cylindrical Westin Peachtree Plaza surpassed it a decade later. (Previous names included the First National Bank Building and State of Georgia Building.) It’s served as offices for banking and now state government since its inception.
Next door, 14 Marietta is significantly older, dating to 1940 as the original headquarters of First National Bank, prior to the tower’s development. It hasn’t been renovated since 2 Peachtree was completed nearly 60 years ago, according to Invest Atlanta.
In a recent statement, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens predicted the two-building 2 Peachtree project, once finished, “will be a model of urban redevelopment” as “the city’s tallest residential building.”
In related news a few blocks away, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports the long-vacant Atlanta Constitution building at 143 Alabama Street has at least a faint heartbeat once again, as the city is actively assembling land for its mixed-use revival.
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