By Associated Press - Saturday, April 25, 2015

ATLANTA (AP) - A developer in Atlanta said he plans to add six stories to the top of an existing 21-story high rise in Midtown, a rare move in the city’s real estate market.

John Dewberry of Dewberry Capital told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he hopes to start construction that will turn the 21-story Campanile building into a 27-story building. The tower was built in the 1980s and served for years as BellSouth’s headquarters.

The proposal surprised other developers who were skeptical city real estate is crowded enough to make such an expensive project economical.

Dewberry said he does not have new tenants ready for the space. While the add-on would be expensive, Dewberry bought the building at a discount during the Great Recession. He has expanded his real estate holdings in the Midtown area as a bet on future growth.

He said part of the project’s appeal is improving the building’s aesthetics.

“I think she is short and fat, and I want to make her tall and slender,” Dewberry said. “We pride ourselves as a Tiffany developer, and she is ugly.”

His firm has already spent millions of dollars in building upgrades, including replacing its original triangle top, re-glazing windows and replacing windows, the elevator system and lighting.

Adding more floors could require more elevator bays and reduce the building’s usable space, said Benjamin Flowers, a professor of architecture at Georgia Tech. The building’s foundation would have to be strong enough to handle the additional load. He said keeping existing tenants happy during construction could also be a challenge.

There is also the challenge of “how to avoid looking like a Frankenstein,” Flowers said. “You don’t want it to look like it was recently operated on with a random kit of parts.”


Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,

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