Truist plan to put purple name atop Atlanta tower runs into red light

Bank is gradually replacing SunTrust, BB&T brands in metro area
A SunTrust Plaza sign is one of a few still displayed at the newly named Truist Plaza, located at 303 Peachtree Street, in downtown Atlanta, Monday, October 11, 2021.  (Alyssa Pointer/

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

A SunTrust Plaza sign is one of a few still displayed at the newly named Truist Plaza, located at 303 Peachtree Street, in downtown Atlanta, Monday, October 11, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer/

A glowing purple Truist sign will soon beam atop Atlanta’s second-tallest building — provided property managers can clear up structural problems cited by building inspectors.

Truist wants its name and logo to shine from all four sides of the pinnacle of 303 Peachtree, a 60-story office tower that looms over the downtown skyline and can be seen for miles.

It’s part of the company’s slow-moving phaseout of the SunTrust and BB&T brands after the two banks merged in December 2019 to create Truist.

Signs on SunTrust and BB&T retail branches and ATMs in metro Atlanta will be replaced in the first half of 2022. Some digital banking apps have already been converted to Truist.

Work began this month at 303 Peachtree to replace street-level signs that still carried SunTrust’s blue-and-orange name and logo. A BB&T sign in white lettering atop another high office tower at Atlantic Station’s 271 17th Street was removed last month after Truist vacated the building.

If Truist gets permission to install its purple name and logo on top of 303 Peachtree, it would join the Atlanta Braves’ Truist Park in Cobb County as the merged bank’s highest-profile branding in the metro area.

But it could take a while longer following an anonymous complaint. The city’s Office of Buildings issued a “stop work” order and “corrective action” notice on Monday after city staff inspected the Peachtree Street tower’s top floors. Documents that the city shared with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution do not clearly state which building codes might be violated.

Truist spokesman Mike McCoy said the company is cooperating with building inspectors but did not provide additional details. Portman Holdings, the property manager, did not respond to a request for comment as of Thursday afternoon.

Truist wants its name and logo in lights atop the city's second-tallest building, like in this rendering that was filed with city building inspectors. It's part of their phase-out of the SunTrust brand.

Credit: Lemuel H. Ward

icon to expand image

Credit: Lemuel H. Ward

The only tower higher than 303 Peachtree in Atlanta is Bank of America Plaza, roughly a mile north in Midtown and about 150 feet higher. It is named after a rival bank but doesn’t have a name or logo atop it.

Truist has not disclosed how much it’s spending on the 303 Peachtree signage, or on its overall rebranding effort. But having your company’s name atop one of the city’s tallest buildings has great value, said Kendra Rainey, a partner at Atlanta branding agency Edgar Allan.

“It’s a big point of pride and something everyone is going to see,” said Rainey, whose firm is not involved in the project.

Although the transition to Truist has taken almost two years and will run through 2022, she said the deliberate pace makes sense.

“If they would have done the change overnight, it could have scared people,” she said. “It’s the place that holds your money and you rely on them to be solid and dependable.”

Consumers here have a long history with SunTrust, which traced its Atlanta roots back to the late 19th century. In 1893, the bank moved to the eight-story Equitable Building in downtown Atlanta, the South’s first “skyscraper.”

The 871-foot-tall 303 Peachtree building, formerly known as SunTrust Plaza, was completed in 1992 and vaguely resembles a child’s toy made from Lego building blocks. In addition to Truist, major tenants include the law firm Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs, according to real estate data firm CoStar Group.

Truist moved its headquarters to Charlotte, North Carolina, shortly after the merger was completed in late 2019. Executives stressed that SunTrust’s former hometown would remain a major hub. Former SunTrust CEO Bill Rogers this summer took over as CEO of Truist, replacing BB&T’s former CEO.

Still, Truist has reduced its presence in Atlanta since the merger. The bank vacated about 486,000 square feet of Atlanta-area office space between early 2020 and April 2021, according to CoStar Group. It’s also closed branches and reduced staff.

Truist employs about 8,500 workers in Georgia. It operates 182 branches in metro Atlanta, ahead of Wells Fargo’s 147 and Bank of America’s 121, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.