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A Huge Tenant At Icahn's Atlanta Tower Is Backing Away From Its Space

When the Center for Global Health Innovation struck a deal to lease 200K SF at a Midtown Atlanta tower owned by Icahn Enterprises at the end of 2021, it planned to create a coworking environment where healthcare, life sciences, biotech and other nonprofit organizations could unite under one roof.

But the CGHI has put those plans on ice after the organization was unable to raise the necessary funds, Bisnow has learned.

675 West Peachtree St., also known as the AT&T Building, stands tall next to The Fox Theatre in Midtown.

"Despite the overwhelming industry support and significant pre-construction demand for the space, the project does not have the public and private funding needed to move ahead at this time,” CGHI Board Chair Gary Reedy told Bisnow  in an email on Friday. “We will delay our plans for the building and assess future options, which may or may not include the Midtown location.”

Reedy, who is the former CEO of the American Cancer Society, didn't say how much CGHI raised or how far short it came from its fundraising goal. But CGHI's decision leaves Icahn's 1.5M SF 675 West Peachtree St., formerly known as the AT&T Tower, without a tenant, according to data from Avison Young.

Officials with Icahn Enterprises, which has owned the building that is now known as Tower Square since 2008, did not return messages seeking comment. 

The lease for the space, which was dubbed the Health Innovation District, was negotiated by Transwestern Executive Managing Director Clark Dean, and the Houston-based brokerage firm itself committed $1.5M to the Health Innovation District project, according to a press release.

When reached about CGHI's decision to pull back from its Tower Square space, Dean declined to comment.

In April, CGHI's then-CEO Maria Thacker-Goethe said at a Bisnow event the center had “strong conversations” with local and national foundations about donations to the organization, but called for political leadership to “step up” and support Georgia’s life sciences industry. 

“Our organization is very strong from that perspective, and we’re still on track to be able to open this year,” Thacker-Goethe said at the time. 

Thacker-Goethe stepped down as CEO of the center late last month, but remains with the organization as leader of the Office of Life Sciences and Digital Health, formerly known as Georgia Bio, according to the Saporta Report.

The Health Innovation District was envisioned to house offices for the nonprofit’s headquarters, offer lab and office space and be an incubator for companies, nongovernmental organizations, universities, healthcare systems, community groups and venture funds to “build an innovation community that solves important problems and creates economic opportunity,” according to a press release.

"Three years ago, the Center for Global Health Innovation undertook an ambitious goal of creating a Health Innovation District, a first-of-its-kind physical space where organizations can work together, fostering communication and ensuring that our collective efforts are grounded in the real needs of the communities we serve," Reedy wrote.

Icahn has been the subject of heavy scrutiny in recent weeks after prominent short seller Hindenburg Research published a report claiming the billionaire investor was inflating the value of his company's assets.

In the aftermath of the report's publication, Icahn Enteprises disclosed that a tenant at an unnamed tower the company owns couldn't meet its rent payments, leading to the lease's termination.

The move triggered a new appraisal and likely write-down for the office building from its current $281M valuation, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. It's unclear if the undisclosed tenant was CGHI's Health Innovation District and if the building facing a lower valuation is Tower Square.

Icahn Enterprises' stock has lost more than 35% of its value since the short seller report. It also disclosed that it was under investigation by the Department of Justice in the wake of the report, The Wall Street Journal reported.