Big changes for Atlanta’s H.J. Russell & Co.

H.J. Russell & Company, the venerable Atlanta construction, development and hospitality business, on Wednesday unveiled some big changes for the firm, including new branding and a plan to turn the company’s former headquarters in Castleberry Hill into an entrepreneurial center.

The interior of the new H.J. Russell & Company offices at Atlantic Station. Submitted photo by Javin Foreman

Russell – which will be the name emphasized in their new logo and branding – recently moved to a new headquarters in Atlantic Station and said the changes in their offices and their branding reflect the future of the firm.

Jerome Russell, president, and Michael Russell, CEO of H.J. Russell & Company. Submitted photo by Javin Foreman

Russell, among the largest minority-owned businesses in the U.S., was founded by its namesake, the late Herman J. Russell. Russell, an entrepreneur, philanthropist and an icon of Atlanta's business community, died in 2014. He turned a small plastering firm into one of the nation's most successful African-American-owned real estate development and construction companies, and counted the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as a number of U.S. presidents as friends.

Herman J. Russell built a legacy in Atlanta

His children have run the Russell empire for a number of years. The firm is a partner in the construction team building Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the firm has had its hands in major construction projects from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to Turner Field. The firm also includes Concessions International, a top airport hospitality companies in the U.S.

The company’s former logo featured Russell’s initials and an umbrella. The new one features an R atop a green square split into four equal segments reflecting the company’s different business lines.

“Although the umbrella icon will always be an important part of H.J. Russell & Company’s history, we wanted to update our brand so that it speaks for the contemporary vision we have for our company and for the industries we operate in while still showing respect for our legacy,” Russell CEO Michael Russell said in a news release.

A spokeswoman for the firm said the new headquarters at 171 17th Street is home to about 50 Russell employees.

Jerome Russell, the company’s president, said the new Midtown digs and branding will inspire innovative ideas and forward thinking by our team as we meet the evolving needs of our clients.”

The company is also making plans for its former home on Fair Street, planning to convert the 40,000-square-foot building into an incubator for startup companies.

“Our planned innovation and incubator center will be designed to breed success for up and coming entrepreneurs, particularly minorities, by connecting them with the tools, skills and relationships they need to turn their dreams into reality,” Donata Russell Ross, CEO of Concessions International, said in the release. “What better place to have this happen than where many of my father’s and our family’s dreams came true too.”