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Sustainable Packaging Maker Taking Over 246K SF Building At RiverEdge Summit

A maker of fiber-based food and beverage containers is expanding into the rest of its Atlanta office building, taking over more than 100K SF vacated by a pair of financial firms.

RiverEdge Summit, the longtime home for Graphic Packaging in Cobb County.

Graphic Packaging International has renewed and expanded its lease at 1500 RiverEdge Summit, adding 125K SF to take over the entirety of the 246K SF Cumberland/Galleria building owned by New York-based Opal Holdings

“Our business is growing and expanding,” said Sue Appleyard, a spokesperson for Graphic Packaging. 

The expansion is into space formerly leased to Truist, which moved to The Battery at Truist Park, and insurance company Lincoln National Corp. Appleyard said it will take the company a year to build out its space, which will include adding a customer experience center.

Graphic Packaging has had its headquarters at RiverEdge Summit for the past decade. The company has 480 local employees.

The deal comes on the heels of the firm’s third-quarter earnings, which showed its net income jumped to $193M from $73M the previous year. 

Colliers Vice President Graham Little and Senior Vice President Deming Fish represented Opal in the negotiations. Little declined to comment on the deal. Cushman & Wakefield Executive Managing Director Travis Jackson and Executive Director Addison Meriwether represented Graphic Packaging and declined to comment.

The expansion is a bright spot while many experts say the Atlanta office market has peaked for this cycle, especially as fear grows that rising interest rates and inflation could plunge the economy into a recession.

Graphic Packaging's expansion is among the largest office deals of 2022, and it chipped away at some of the more than 5M SF of sublease space casting a shadow over the market. Most recently, the Home Depot offered more than 600K SF of suburban office space up for sublease in Cobb County.

The largest office lease of the year so far is AT&T's 260K SF renewal at 754 Peachtree St., followed by Truist's 250K SF deal at The Battery, according to Avison Young.

Graphic Packaging’s expansion was an opportunity for Lincoln Financial to get rid of excess office space that it had at RiverEdge Summit since its shift to a hybrid work model, Lincoln spokesperson Kelly Capizzi said.

“Since the pandemic, Lincoln has a larger number of employees working remotely, and we remain committed to providing flexibility,” Capizzi told Bisnow in an email. “With that, there was an opportunity to open up space to others who need it, overall supporting the needs of Lincoln and Graphic Packaging.”

Graphic Packaging has also pivoted to a hybrid work model, Appleyard said, but it plans to hire more people in the coming months, necessitating the expansion. It isn't just growing in Atlanta: Graphic Packaging inked a 256K SF deal for a new distribution center in the English city of Bristol, Business and Innovation Magazine reported.

"Strong organic sales growth of 5% accelerated during the third quarter fueled by our innovation pipeline and demand for more sustainable, fiber-based packaging solutions,” Graphic Packaging CEO Michael Doss said in a press release. “We are uniquely positioned to service increased demand for recycled content in paperboard packaging as our state-of-the-art coated recycled board machine in Kalamazoo, Michigan, continues to ramp up production."