Think of Atlanta’s biggest building, and the glowing-pyramid-topped Bank of America Plaza probably comes to mind—but as the timeworn adage goes, don’t discount girth.

Situated a block north of Atlanta’s tallest skyscraper is the largest building in the city by nearly 100,000 square feet—the 47-story, 40-year-old landmark formerly known as AT&T Midtown Center I that’s been rechristened Tower Square.

Along with its new name, the building’s ownership has recently appointed a new leasing team that believes the updated property is uniquely positioned to both thrive in the face of the WFH and hybrid-working zeitgeist, and to stimulate the south Midtown economy with job growth and fresh public features.

The West Peachtree Street plaza opened last year as a means of giving Tower Square employees quick access to a work-play environment in the open air. Retail spaces are planned around this facet of the property. Courtesy of Avison Young Atlanta Agency Leasing Group

Originally opened in 1981, the Class A office building (formerly BellSouth Center and Southern Bell Center, too) encompasses more than 1.4 million square feet, making it not only Atlanta’s largest high-rise but the biggest in the southern U.S., according to Avison Young Atlanta Agency Leasing Group, the commercial real estate firm recently tasked with filling it.

Avison Young reps describe the Tower Square building as “readily available,” following capital improvements that wrapped last year. Those included the installation of the largest private greenspace and plaza in Midtown, an elevated corner space on West Peachtree Street meant to give employees access to fresh air and space to relax after work.

Next on tap, according to Avison Young, will be two floors of new retail next door to the plaza, with some storefronts oriented to face and interact with West Peachtree Street. Target tenants are vaguely “a variety of food and beverage options and other retailers,” company heads said this week.

Avison Young officials point to relatively new office dwellers nearby—those working at Norfolk Southern’s headquarters across the street, Tech Square, CODA, and Anthem offices, among other places—as evidence the market for retail exists.

“It’s no secret that Atlanta has become attractive to new industries and ventures, including technology, life sciences, and others that want to be located near top talent and synergistic companies,” Juan Bueno, Avison Young principal, U.S. president, and board director said in a prepared statement. “Tower Square has all the potential of becoming that hub.”

The leasing firm pointed out several of the property’s attributes this week—some more obvious than others.

Recently redesigned lobby spaces at the base of Tower Square. Courtesy of Avison Young Atlanta Agency Leasing Group

It’s the district’s only property with an in-building MARTA connection (North Avenue MARTA station), in addition to nearby bike lanes, earning a “pedestrian paradise” Walk Score of 91.

Inside, Tower Square was built with column-free floorplates that allow for layout flexibility today, in addition to floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic views, according to Avison Young.

Steve Dils, Avison Young principal and managing director, pointed to new residential offerings in the area such as Lilli Midtown and Solace on Peachtree—along with more than 25,000 students in nearby universities from Georgia State and Georgia Tech to Atlanta University Center—as reasons why the setting is right to attract diverse talent as employees at Tower Square.

Rendering depicting the building's private plaza along West Peachtree Street, and how it could function once fully built out with retail and other components. Courtesy of Avison Young Atlanta Agency Leasing Group

Of Atlanta’s core districts, Midtown has by far the most leasing momentum, according to a recent midyear report by global real estate brokerage firm Colliers.

Across Midtown, the first half of 2022 saw 693,000 square feet of office space absorbed—an amount described by Colliers as “immense” and “impressive”—dropping the vacancy rate in the second quarter to 17.6 percent. But the bulk of that success (396,000 square feet leased) came with Google’s office deal at a freshly developed tower farther north on West Peachtree Street.  

We’ve asked for details on current leasing rates at Tower Square and how much space remains available overall, and we’ll update this story with info that comes. In the meantime, head to the gallery for a closer look at the building today, and how it’s expected to function soon. [UPDATE: We're told that Tower Square rental rates range between $32 and $34 per square foot, and that 1.2 million square feet of office space remains available.]

Midtown news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)