Residents are being asked to give their two cents on how 2 Peachtree can serve as a community hub and fill in gaps in downtown’s revitalization effort. Most of the 890,000-square-foot building will become mixed-income housing, but the bottom five floors are being reserved for yet-to-be-determined public uses, Klementich said.
“We think there’s an opportunity here for something that will be complementary to what is going on the top,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We also want to be complimentary and inclusive of what’s going on in the entire downtown.”
Invest Atlanta issued a request for information (RFI) on Monday, allowing anyone to share their vision for the best way to use the lower floors of 2 Peachtree, which encompass roughly 116,000 square feet. It’s the first RFI that Invest Atlanta has issued under Klementich, who has led the agency since 2016.
The results of the public engagement campaign will be shared publicly and with the eventual development team, which Invest Atlanta is currently seeking.
The tower is central to plans for a refreshed downtown that isn’t just old office buildings, tourist attractions and event spaces. The building, located near the Five Points MARTA station, will become the tallest residential tower in downtown Atlanta and is part of Mayor Andre Dickens’ vision to increase the number of people living downtown.
Built in 1966, the 2 Peachtree tower was the headquarters of the former First National Bank of Atlanta, but it was sold to the state in the 1990s and has acted as a workplace for thousands of state employees. Invest Atlanta bought the building in February for $39 million.
Remy Saintil, Atlanta’s commissioner of the Department of Enterprise Assets Management, said the city is under a brisk timeline.
“The last thing we want is to have a big building sitting there with nobody doing anything with it,” Saintil said.
Invest Atlanta issued a separate request for qualifications (RFQ) last month to identify developers experienced with converting offices into apartments. Klementich said they expect to garner 10 to 15 submissions before narrowing the field and naming a development team by the end of the year.
She said the city has to move quickly, given heightened cost of living expenses and the city’s population growth.
“The need is now,” she said. “We need housing today.”
Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com
Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com
While the specifics of the apartments will be determined by the development team, Klementich said Dickens has made clear he wants a variety of below-market-rate prices and unit sizes large enough to house families.
The project will help contribute to Dickens’ goal to build or preserve 20,000 affordable housing units by 2026. More than 7,550 affordable units have been delivered since 2018, which includes the tenure of Dickens’ predecessor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, according to a city dashboard.
This type of adaptive reuse comes with a mountain of challenges. These include designing office floors into living spaces with bathrooms, kitchens and natural light, to finding funding for project of this scale. Current economic challenges, such as instability in the banking sector, high interest rates and rising construction costs, do not help matters.
But Klementich said overcoming those challenges will be worth it, and it is among a wave of new housing projects poised to come to downtown.
Atlanta is also developing 104 Trinity Street into a 228-unit community on vacant city-owned land, and the city is working to build new affordable housing at 143 Alabama Street, where the city wants to preserve the former Atlanta Constitution Building. In February, Invest Atlanta also issued a call for developers to reimagine land near MARTA’s Garnett Station in south downtown, which is also expected to include housing.
Downtown’s largest revitalization dream, CIM Group’s $5 billion Centennial Yards, would transform the parking lots and railroad lines known as The Gulch into mix of housing, office buildings, retail and hotels. Other downtown projects, such as Newport’s South Downtown and the latest iteration of Underground Atlanta, also incorporate housing proposals.
Saintil said the city is willing to lead the charge with 2 Peachtree.
“This is the catalyst,” he said. “We’re taking the leap, and there will be much more to follow this.”
What’s your idea?
Invest Atlanta is seeking ideas for how to use the lower five floors of the 2 Peachtree Street tower, which is primarily being converted into mixed-rate apartments. Optional site tours are available May 23 and May 24. Submissions can be sent to email@example.com by 5:01 p.m. June 19. A submissions summary will be publicly shared by the end of June.