Atlanta Life Financial selling headquarters

Atlanta Life Financial Group, a 105-year-old wealth management and life insurance firm headquartered in Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn district, is selling its five-story headquarters building.

But the African-American-owned firm doesn’t plan to move out. Atlanta Life will likely lease back office space from the new owner.

The firm says it was approached by an investor and decided to put the building on the market “to see if there are any other interested parties,” said Leslie McCoy, a firm spokeswoman.

The company and its subsidiaries, including Herndon Capital Management, an institutional investment management firm, and Jackson Securities, an investment bank founded by the late Mayor Maynard Jackson, occupy only about 35 percent of the building. The building hasn’t been full since 2001, she said, adding that a new owner will decide whether to add more tenants.

The sale of of the building will raise cash to grow its life insurance business, McCoy said.

“Sale-leasebacks are kind of like fashion. They come in and out depending on where the credit markets are,” said Ken Ashley, a senior director at real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield in Atlanta.

He said a tight credit market has made sale-leasebacks difficult, but if successful, this deal could show they are coming “back into fashion.”

The 105,000 square foot building was built in 1980. Atlanta Life would not disclose an asking price.

“Very few office buildings have sold recently,” said Alan Wexler, with real estate data firm DataBank Atlanta.

Macy’s recently paid $150 per square foot, or $11.3 million, to purchase 5955 State Bridge Road in Johns Creek for a data center.

He said that’s about what buildings similar to Atlanta Life’s headquarters have been selling for.

He speculated the Atlanta Life building at 100 Auburn Avenue could fetch between $10 million and $15 million.

McCoy said she hopes that a buyer “would embrace and be committed to Sweet Auburn and Atlanta Life’s historical significance and contributions.”

Staff writer J. Scott Trubey contributed to this article.

About the Author