Invest Atlanta OKs grant to restore Medical Arts Building

August 18,2017

Source: Dave Williams, Atlanta Business Chronicle

Atlanta's economic development agency is helping an investment capital firm restore a historic downtown building that has been vacant since the mid-1990s.

Invest Atlanta's Board of Directors voted Thursday to authorize a grant of up to $3 million to Global X Properties, owner of the Medical Arts Building. Cleveland-based Global X plans to convert the 85,000-square-foot building at 384 Peachtree St. into office space, a boutique hotel or possibly some other use that fits in with the city's redevelopment plans for the eastern portion of downtown.

Global X, which bought the building for $12.7 million, has agreed to fully restore the facade, refurbish the windows and replace all of the mechanical systems.

The lone board member who opposed the grant resolution, Julian Bene, questioned the acquisition price in light of an assessment last year that valued the building at $3 million.

"This is an abandoned building," he said. "By being there, we may be inflating the value of the property. ... My feeling is it would be better if we not subsidize what looks like inflated-value property."

David Swentor, president of real estate for Global X, said paying $12 million was necessary in order to save a historic building and put it back to good use.

"We at Global X are preservationists at heart," he said. "It may appear that we overpaid for this property. It's sometimes what it takes to break these historic assets loose."

"At a time when there's much urgency about preserving the city's past, we have the right partner at the right moment," added Mayor Kasim Reed, the board's chairman.

The project is expected to generate $43 million in direct capital investment in downtown Atlanta and create up to 463 permanent jobs.

In other business, the Invest Atlanta board voted unanimously to issue up to $26 million in revenue bonds to combat homelessness in the city. Specifically, the money will go to provide 550 housing units at scattered sites and one or two homeless shelters furnished with nearly 250 beds.

The money will leverage a private match of $25 million and an additional $40 million in public funds.