A landmark office building in downtown Atlanta is set to be converted to residential uses, adding to a surge of new living options in blocks near the south side of Centennial Olympic Park and growing the city’s stock of offices switched to multifamily buildings.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979, The Grant Building at 44 Broad Street was recently purchased by an LLC called Tower 44 Broad Street. That’s a joint venture between Wolfe Investments and Bluelofts, a Dallas-based real estate company that specializes in office-to-multifamily conversions, according to Colliers officials who facilitated the sale.

The 10-story Grant Building—the second oldest steel-frame structure left standing in Atlanta—was built in 1898 in the Chicago Architectural Style, as designed by Atlanta architects Alexander Bruce and Thomas Henry Morgan.

The 44 Broad Street buildings's location in relation to other downtown landmarks. Google Maps

The mixed-use, 125,000-square-foot building has been renovated twice since it opened: in 1980 and again in 2019, when key systems such as the elevators were upgraded, according to Colliers reps.

Plans now call for the building, once converted from offices, to be leased to Sonder, a national apartment-hotel operator. Sonder operates another downtown building called Midtown South near Renaissance Park that debuted a year ago, with starting rates around $120 nightly.

Sonder added Atlanta to its list of more than 35 cities in early 2020, offering rates the company has said are about 15 percent lower than hotels. 

The Grant's sale "was a rare opportunity to invest in the historical preservation of one of Atlanta’s most talked about neighborhoods,” said Helen Zaver, Colliers senior vice president, who represented the seller, an LLC called Grant Building OPF, and brought the buyers aboard. “As the city continues to change,” Zaver said in a recent announcement, “so will The Grant—evolving to meet the needs of its growing population.”

Courtesy of Colliers

As one selling point, Colliers officials pointed to The Grant’s location within a Qualified Opportunity Zone. That means the area has been identified as low-income or economically distressed, making projects more eligible for tax incentives.

“We’re excited about the tremendous future of this historic building and look forward to working with Atlanta on this key project,” Ike Bams, Bluelofts cofounder, said in the project announcement.  

We’ve asked for more details on when The Grant’s conversion might begin—and when Sonder hopes to start operating on Broad Street—and we’ll update this story with any further information that comes. Conversion plans were identified as being “mixed-use,” but how much retail space might be included wasn’t specified. 

Courtesy of Colliers

Converting the landmark building to residential uses would follow similar downtown adaptive-reuse projects at Altitude Atlanta (formerly Paces Properties’ The Office building) and more recently Centennial Yards South, CIM Group’s conversion of former Norfolk Southern offices beside the Gulch.

The City of Atlanta also recently acquired downtown’s 2 Peachtree tower from the state with plans of remaking its offices into affordable housing.

But still, a recent analysis by RentCafe showed Atlanta has lagged far behind even mid-sized cities in terms of the sheer number of apartments recently created in buildings that had previously had other functions.

Downtown news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)