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Dewberry Plans To Start Campanile Overhaul By Fall

After more than two years of delay, John Dewberry may finally be starting work on the major overhaul of his Campanile Building.

Rendering of The Campanile Building’s lower-floor renovations.

Dewberry Group, led by a former Georgia Tech quarterback and one of Atlanta's most well-known commercial real estate figures, is looking to add six new stories on top of the 455K SF office tower at 1155 Peachtree St. and hopes to start work this fall, project executives said at a meeting of the Midtown Development Review Committee Tuesday evening.

The overhaul of the tower, which would also include eight floors of new commercial space around its base, should take two years to complete, Smallwood associate Michael Brown, the project's architect, said at the meeting.

In all, Dewberry would add a total of 265K SF of office and 39K SF of retail to the tower sandwiched between Peachtree Street and Piedmont Avenue off 14th Street in the heart of Midtown, and its height would rise from 21 to 27 stories, according to the DRC application.

“There is demand for it,” Brown said when asked by DRC board members about possible tenant interest in Campanile.

The MDRC, which offers its initial take on new projects in Midtown to the city before developers seek final approval, plans to recommend the project pending some minor alterations.

Dewberry Executive Vice President of Finance John Freeman told Bisnow after the MDRC meeting that the developer will start construction on the addition without waiting for pre-leasing, but that the firm has “construction financing lined up.” Freeman declined to offer further details.

Brown told Bisnow how Dewberry plans to go about adding floors to the top of the tower: A contractor will add concrete piers to the existing steel frame at the top floor, then will erect additional steel bars to frame the new floors above that. While not unheard of, it is unusual for developers to add additional floors to existing skyscrapers, especially since more than 80% of global commercial towers have been built since 9/11.

This is Dewberry's latest push to redevelop Campanile since it acquired the former BellSouth tower in 2010 for $36M. BellSouth left in 2007, and more recently, SunTrust Bank vacated five floors after its merger with BB&T, becoming Truist in 2021. Today's remaining tenants in the building include Pandora Music Co. and Northwestern Mutual, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

In December, Dewberry refinanced Campanile with $75M in debt from ACORE CapitalCommercial Observer reported.

“We are excited to finance a top local sponsor with extensive experience in the Atlanta market and a cutting-edge vision for this asset,” ACORE Director of Originations Eric Ramirez told CO. "This is a high-quality investment opportunity for ACORE in a location we believe in long term, with very strong local sponsorship in the Dewberry Group."

That loan came after Dorin Investment Group purchased an over $185M nonperforming loan from H.I.G. Realty Partners and Square Mile Capital last August secured by Campanile, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The renovation of Campanile began in 2019, but stalled a year later, leaving the base of the tower unfinished. The lack of work led the city of Atlanta's office of buildings to label it an abandoned project in October, subjecting Dewberry to possible code enforcement violations.

Last year, Dewberry told the AJC that work delays were due to numerous factors, including disputes with the firm's general contractor over price estimates, but that work on the project was slated to begin again. 

“Once we’re through, I think 14th and Peachtree Street is really going to be ground zero of Atlanta,” Dewberry told the AJC.