The City of Atlanta has officially closed a major real estate deal that could inject life and needed, attainable housing options into the area around Five Points as it tries to overcome generations of disinvestment.
According to Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens’ office, the city has purchased the 2 Peachtree Street office building from the State of Georgia. The underused, 41-story landmark tower has stood just north of Underground Atlanta for nearly six decades.
Converting it to a mixed-income, mixed-use tower as planned would create the tallest residential building in Atlanta (at least for now), per the mayor’s office.
Beyond hundreds of new housing units, 2 Peachtree Street is expected to feature offices and retail space, ostensibly providing downtown’s oldest blocks an economic jolt while adding to the mayor’s goal of preserving or building 20,000 affordable housing units across Atlanta by 2030, when a second Dickens term would end.
Invest Atlanta previously approved $39 million to buy the mostly vacant building—using funding allocated from the Eastside Tax Allocation District—and hold it on behalf of the city until a redevelopment partner is selected.
City officials said Thursday that Invest Atlanta is planning to issue a Request for Proposals this summer and pick a developer by year’s end. The goal is to begin construction in 2024, but the project could be complex, as conversions of older or obsolete office buildings to housing are rarely easy.
Exactly what 2 Peachtree Street’s adaptive-reuse conversion will produce isn’t yet known, beyond “several hundred new housing units” with “dedicated and deeply affordable housing” options among them, as the mayor’s office said when the pending deal was announced in October.
According to Emporis, the tower opened in 1966 as the Southeast’s tallest building, and it remained the tallest in Atlanta until it was surpassed by Portman’s cylindrical Westin Peachtree Plaza a decade later. (Previous names include the First National Bank Building and State of Georgia Building.) It’s served as offices for banking and now state government since its inception.
Dickens predicted the tower’s redevelopment “will serve as an anchor for the ongoing revitalization of [downtown]—creating long-term affordable housing and mixed-use space accessible to the heart of Atlanta’s transit system,” according to a statement. “Ensuring this development is attainable for a range of incomes and lifestyles,” the mayor continued, “will make downtown the vibrant, connected urban community it was always meant to be.”
Added Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in Thursday’s announcement: “This undertaking by the city will benefit a valued population in need of quality housing, and I’m thankful the partnership between the state and Dickens’ office was able to make this transaction possible.
“I’m also grateful that this historic building will continue to have an important purpose,” Kemp continued. “As this redevelopment project kicks off, we’re excited about the impact it will have on [downtown] and the surrounding area.”
The announcement comes just days after more encouraging housing news for downtown involving Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm.
The agency has set a March 31 deadline for developers to come forward with plans for turning an acre of land in the shadow of MARTA’s Garnett station into hundreds of more residential units, with the stipulation at least 100 of them be reserved as affordable.
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