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Pope & Land, Partner In Talks To Redevelop Historic Downtown Building

A historic Downtown Atlanta building once home to the former Atlanta Constitution newspaper could become the next strike zone for urban mixed-use.

Renderings for the proposed redevelopment of 143 Alabama St. by Pope & Land Enterprises and Place Properties that were submitted to Invest Atlanta

Pope & Land Enterprises — the storied developer with projects across the metro region — is in talks with the City of Atlanta to purchase 143 Alabama St., a 95K SF office building bordering The Gulch property. In turn, Pope & Land and its partner, Place Properties, look to redevelop it into a mixed-use project with office, retail, restaurant space and an additional multifamily building, according to documents with Atlanta's economic development organization, Invest Atlanta.

Invest Atlanta was scheduled to review the potential deal this week, but the agenda item was pulled down for reasons that remain unclear. The deal would involve the developers buying the building from the city for $2M.

The city issued a request for proposals from private developers to revitalize 143 Alabama St. last year.

“We are excited about the potential of 143 Alabama St. as another opportunity to bring new development and additional affordable housing to Downtown Atlanta,” Invest Atlanta spokesman Matt Fogt wrote in an email.

Fogt said the city still is in talks to sell the property and could bring an offer to the Invest Atlanta board in the future. It was not clear if other parties were also in talks with the city to acquire the building.

“No action contemplated by Invest Atlanta is final until it has received board approval,” he said.

Pope & Land Senior Managing Development Partner Mason Zimmerman confirmed the developer is still in talks with the city.

“We remain excited about the opportunity to renovate and repurpose that important, unique property at the nexus of the emerging South Downtown district, the Gulch, Underground [Atlanta] and Five Points,” Zimmerman said in an email. "The city has been very proactive and visionary with their goals for the area and our team ... hopes to have the opportunity to be a part of it."

The proposal, which was originally posted on Invest Atlanta's website, would have Pope & Land transform the existing building into a mix of office space, ground-floor retail and a rooftop restaurant. The developers would also construct a 112-unit residential project, in which 34 of the units would be geared toward households making 80% of the area's median income.

The total cost of the project was estimated to be nearly $40M. Atlanta was in talks to move the city's planning department into some 30K SF of the renovated office space, according to the documents.

The Atlanta Constitution used the building until it merged with the Atlanta Journal under a common owner in the 1950s. Today, those papers are combined into the main Atlanta daily newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. After the Constitution left, the building was used for a time by Georgia Power, but it has largely been left vacant since the 1980s.

The city purchased the property in 1995, according to Invest Atlanta.