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500 State Workers Will Fill 250 Piedmont

November 18,2011

From the Atlanta Business Chronicle

The Georgia Department of Labor plans to consolidate at least 500 jobs into downtown’s vacant 250 Piedmont tower by next summer, another sign of momentum for Atlanta’s central business district.

The project would involve a new investor, an affiliate of Atlanta-based Forum Municipal Development Services Inc., buying the 20-story building for roughly $15 million and pouring at least $25 million into upgrades.

The capital infusion would add financial stability to an aging building and more foot traffic to a stretch of Piedmont Avenue between Harris and Baker streets that can get overlooked compared to the prominent office towers, hotels and restaurants that line Peachtree Street.

The move comes a little more than two years after SunTrust Banks Inc. decided to leave the 362,000-square-foot tower, where the bank had housed its employees for at least 20 years. It relocated more than 1,000 jobs in its enterprise information services unit to the nearby Peachtree Center complex, keeping the jobs downtown but creating a huge void in 250 Piedmont, a building connected to the Atlanta Hilton Hotel.

Canadian owner Ivanhoe Cambridge has struggled to fill 250 Piedmont as the poor job market continued to weaken demand for office space.

“The big things here are the jobs moving downtown and the absorption of all that empty space,” said A.J. Robinson, president of Central Atlanta Progress, an influential group of business leaders involved in economic development. “This is a great deal for this part of downtown and for 250 Piedmont. That building’s front door is essentially the Hilton Hotel.”

The Department of Labor would not elaborate on the consolidation. Its central headquarters is at 148 Andrew Young International Blvd., and it has branch offices scattered across metro Atlanta including 1700 Century Blvd. at Interstate 85 and Clairmont Road. Labor Commissioner Mark Butler declined comment.

The project is not finalized. It was to be discussed in detail before the Downtown Development Authority Nov. 17.

The greatest benefits of the project are the new capital dedicated to the aging 250 Piedmont and the influx of new Department of Labor employees to the district, economic development officials said. The deal will also bring attention to brokerage firm Cassidy Turley, which has been marketing the building for lease or sale.

Photo: Byron E. Small, Atlanta Business Chronicle