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Piedmont Proposing 3rd Glenridge Highlands Project, This Time With A Hotel

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A prominent Atlanta real estate investment trust is trading height for a hotel in Central Perimeter. 

Piedmont Office Realty Trust
Rendering of the planned Glenridge Highlands III

Atlanta-based Piedmont Office Realty Trust has dusted off plans for the third phase of its Glenridge Highlands office park in Central Perimeter, adding a hotel and a restaurant to the mix.

Piedmont is marketing a plan to develop a 150K SF office building atop a parking deck along with a 125-room select service hotel and a separate restaurant building, Piedmont Office Executive Vice President George Wells said. Piedmont has tapped Newmark Knight Frank to lease the office building.

The proposal is a revision of the one put forward in 2014 that focused solely on a third office building twice the size of the new plan. Wells said Sandy Springs' new zoning code prevented them from scaling as tall to accommodate 300K SF, but also allowed the developer to add the hotel component to the project. That change in zoning delayed Piedmont's ability to market to possible users. 

Piedmont Office already owns both Glenridge Highlands I — which it purchased in 2016 and is the current home of First Data — and Glenridge Highlands II. The campus sits off the Glenridge Connector in Central Perimeter, overlooking Georgia 400 near its nexus with Interstate 285.

“Central Perimeter, you've got to remember, it's the gateway to the suburbs,” JLL Managing Director Adam Viente said. “For a hotel, it will be a phenomenal location.”

While Wells said Piedmont would only move forward after securing a significant pre-lease on the office, activity in Central Perimeter is heating up. While Atlanta's in-town markets — particularly Midtown — dominated office leasing activity in 2018, Central Perimeter held its own.

Companies absorbed more than 166K SF in Central Perimeter through the end of 2018, according to a recent Transwestern report, the most absorption of any suburban Atlanta office market.

“The demand pipeline right now is pretty strong,” Viente said.

CBRE Executive Vice President Eric Ross is tracking a handful of deals in the market from 50K SF up to as much as 200K SF, and he expects activity to kick up again after a slower 2018.

Central Perimeter has fundamentals that make it an appealing suburban market, Ross said, including three MARTA stations, the same number as Midtown. Case in point: Ross was part of the team that convinced tech company Insight Global to move its headquarters to Twelve24, a 16-story office tower under construction in Central Perimeter.

Part of the lure is that the new tower — being developed in a joint venture between Trammell Crow and CBRE Global Investors — is directly connected to the Dunwoody MARTA Station.

“That is beginning to matter,” Ross said.

Beyond the mass transit access, Central Perimeter is closer to affluent suburban bedroom communities — especially those along the Georgia 400 spine — where companies know they can find management talent.

“You've got to access the folks [who] are closer to good schools in the suburbs,” Ross said. "These maturing companies have got to hire them to help manage the younger employees."