VIDEO: Learn more about Atlanta's iconic Equitable Building in the AJC's "5 things to know" series.
Photo: Mandi Albright/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: Mandi Albright/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Equitable no more: Downtown Atlanta tower’s landmark sign to go digital

The 32-story building at 100 Peachtree Street has occupied part of Atlanta’s skyline since the 1960s.

But soon, major changes are coming to the skyscraper known most recently as the Equitable Building, including removal of the insurance company’s glowing sign, a fixture in the city since 1968.

On Tuesday, owner Zeller Realty Group unveiled renderings featuring a 174-foot digital sign that will span the top of the tower. The sign will display the logo of the building’s current anchor tenant, Georgia’s Own Credit Union. But, during major event’s such as next year’s Super Bowl, it can be converted to display a message.

For 50 years, the glowing yellow sign offset against the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill-designed tower’s black glass and metal façade was one of the most prominent examples of branding in the city.

But the Equitable Building hasn’t been home to the Equitable Life Assurance for some time. Occupying the space now are: Georgia’s Own, the Atlanta Beltline,  Boston Consulting Group and other companies.

Building name changes aren’t uncommon. Chicago’s tallest skyscraper, the Willis Tower, long was known for its original namesake, Sears.

Philips Arena, home to the Atlanta Hawks, is likely to undergo a name change when rights for the building expire after the next NBA season.

Georgia’s Own moved into the building and occupied about 100,000 square feet, or about one-sixth of the space last year, a news release said. Upgrades to the building include new amenities, such as public art, a fitness center, gathering spaces and a tenant lounge.

In a news release, ZRG said it will work with international construction giant Skanska to install the city’s first digital signage atop a skyscraper. It will debut, the company said, before Super Bowl LIII in February.

“Zeller is proud that Georgia’s Own, a prominent member of the Atlanta community, is entrusting its headquarter location to 100 Peachtree and placing its trademark amongst the stars in our downtown skyline,” Mark Vollbrecht, principal for ZRG, said in the news release.

The new signage fits with the organization’s push to make downtown an arts and entertainment hub, A.J. Robinson, president and CEO of Central Atlanta Progress, said in the release.

“I look forward to seeing how community organizations and Georgia’s Own Credit Union use this digital experience to connect with the community and welcome visitors to our wonderful city,” he said.

But not everyone is looking forward to the changes.

Ryan Gravel, whose masters thesis formed the basis of the Beltline, tweeted on Tuesday: “Dang. @GeorgiasOwn @ZellerRealty should be ashamed for destroying this landmark.”

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