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Georgia-Pacific Headquarters to be Remodeled

November 23,2010

From ajc.com
By Rachel Tobin

The Georgia-Pacific Center on Peachtree Street, a downtown landmark since it was built in 1982, is getting a makeover of its public spaces.

The renovation won’t change the pinkish hue of the granite exterior -- the company says the color is “sunset red” -- but it marks the first update of the tower’s lobby and other interior spaces.

The work will cost Georgia-Pacific and the building's co-owner, MetLife, as much as $5 million. New features include new wood paneling and seating areas in the one-block long lobby plus a new main level coffee shop, a CVS pharmacy and MinuteClinic, and renovated elevators and training rooms. Next year, the auditorium will get a new look.

“As our corporate headquarters, this building is very important to us,” said Julie Brehm, senior vice president of global human resources for Georgia-Pacific. “It’s a major part of the downtown skyline.”

Georgia-Pacific, a unit of privately held Koch Industries, has 2,500 employees in the building, Brehm said. A handful of other tenants, including McKinsey & Co., Bank of Tokyo and the British Consulate, also occupy space.

The building is 16 percent vacant, below the 21.3 percent vacancy rate for downtown, according to a third quarter report by Jones Lang LaSalle, which manages and leases the building.

Tenants surveyed asked for more seating in the lobby, along with more light and amenities, said Anna Ford, vice president of Jones Lang LaSalle. “The ultimate goal is to lighten and brighten.”

The building has a new restaurant called TASTE!, and an outdoor seating area will open next spring with views over Woodruff Park.

The changes will help the building compete with newer towers across metro Atlanta, Ford said, along with downtown towers such as Cousins Properties’ 191 Peachtree St.

The Georgia-Pacific tower’s site is historic. In 1893, Laurent DeGive’s Grand Opera House was built at 133 Peachtree and later leased to Loew’s Grand Theatre which held the premiere of “Gone with the Wind” in 1939. That building burned in 1978.