MetLife preparing to develop prime Midtown Atlanta site

Global insurer MetLife is putting the wheels in motion to redevelop a prime site near the 17th Street bridge that’s one of the gateways to Midtown Atlanta.

On Monday, real estate services giant JLL said it has been selected as the master development manager for the 8.5-acre Midtown Heights parcel that was once slated for a high-rise, mixed-use development called Metropolitan Center. The property at 17th and Spring streets is currently home to a 1960s-era office building.

Few details were released Monday about the project, but it’s clear MetLife plans to be patient with site development. The company started assembling the land there in 2006.

The release said that MetLife and JLL have started conceptual design work and planning, with an expected development cycle of more than 10 years.

The MetLife tract has access to Spring, West Peachtree and 17th streets and is a short walk to the Arts Center MARTA station and the Woodruff Arts Center.

Midtown has become a magnet for top technology companies and young professionals. Thousands of residential units are currently in development in the area and the office market is extremely tight, particularly in Class-A or top-tier buildings.

Last decade, MetLife and Daniel Corp. announced plans for Metropolitan Center, but the project was shelved during the recession.

Real estate insiders have speculated that MetLife could soon bring forward development plans as Midtown continues to draw interest from major corporations for research centers and other operations hubs, such as NCR’s future headquarters. A message left Friday with MetLife officials was not immediately returned.

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