When then-Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson announced the deal to buy the Sears building for $12 million in 1990, he called it "the deal of the century." Less than five years later, renovation costs had skyrocketed and lease income didn't materialize, in part because of limitations on the debt used to finance it. Atlanta never fully occupied the 2 million square foot building, which is one considered one of the largest in the Southeast.
When the city moved out in the middle of the recession, the hulking building on Ponce de Leon Ave. remained empty, awaiting sale to a developer. One developer’s plans to create a huge live-work-play complex stalled out due to the recession and difficulty financing the project. Then Jamestown stepped in with a vision that includes shops as well as room for offices that could be filled with high-tech firms. The firm is expected to pay $27 million for the property.