Once seen as money pit, State of Georgia putting costly building up for sale

Back in the 1990s it was common to hear lawmakers grumble about the cost of rehabbing the 2 Peachtree Building, a 41-story giant a few steps from the Five Points MARTA station.

The 2 Peachtree Street building By BITA HONARVAR

Credit: James Salzer

icon to expand image

Credit: James Salzer

Home to 3,000 state employees, the former First Atlanta Tower at Five Points was once heralded as the South's tallest office tower. But it needed a lot of work when the state got it in the early 1990s. More than $100 million worth of work. More than twice what it was supposed to cost.

Among those complaining about the cost at the time was then-Rep. Steve Stancil, a Republican from Cherokee who, along with other fiscal conservatives, worried that it was a money pit.

Now Stancil runs the Georgia Building Authority,  which is planning to put the building up for sale.

Stancil said the state got an unsolicited offer for the building, which currently houses the massive Department of Community Health. DCH administers health care for about 2 million Georgians.

The state didn't like the offer, which would have tied it to the building for another 20 years in leases. But Stancil and his team thought they'd see if they could get another offer more to the state's liking. So the state building authority board, which is led by Gov. Nathan Deal, will vote on putting the building up for sale this week.

The plan is to eventually move state employees into other buildings, but that's a long-term process. Some of the employees may move into locations across from the state Capitol, but that wouldn't happen until the state demolishes the old state archives building, replaces it with a new courts building, and rehabs the existing court facilities for employees from other agencies. Lawmakers haven't even agreed yet to put up the money to demo the archives building, let alone provide the more than $100 million needed to build the new court building. Deal is expected to seek that funding before he leaves office in 2019.

Either way, the process will take years, so if 2 Peachtree is sold, the new buyer will have renters already in place, at least for awhile.