Georgia State acquires new building at 55 Park Place

Georgia State acquired a new building at 55 Park Place today for $33.5 million, expanding the university’s growing downtown presence.

The purchase of what was formerly known as the Georgia-Pacific Plaza is the latest step in the university’s push for more office space, totaling 19 floors, two parking decks and close to 560,000 square feet.

The building just east of Woodruff Park, is the third piece of real-estate acquired by the university in that area, in addition to the Suntrust Tower building of six years ago.

The university’s expanding role as a leader in downtown real-estate will increase Georgia State investment in property, fueling the city budget through big property taxes and providing students with valuable space in the heart of the city.

“The mission of the Georgia State University Foundation is to help and support the university,” foundation board chair Kenneth L. Bernhardt said in a press release. “Not only will this property pay important near-term benefits for our students, faculty and staff, in the long term it will further solidify Georgia State’s status as an important driving force for downtown Atlanta.”

The building will also have easy access to the MARTA station on Peachtree Center.

“When the building at 55 Park became available, it was clear to all of us that the location, space and overall quality made it a fantastic acquisition for Georgia State,” President Mark P. Becker said. “One of our biggest assets as a university is our ability to put both students and faculty squarely in the middle of this city’s business and governmental activity, and this new property makes that asset even more valuable.”

Georgia States expanding city campus dates back to last year’s renovation of the Suntrust building, years before the university began construction for a new law building and business school for 2015.

Located just north of Woodruff Park, the 26-story building purchased in 2007 will help house 20 percent of the 36,000 projected students by 2015, creating a sense of place and identity, according to the Campus Master Plan.

“As Georgia State gets bigger,” senior Craig Hayes said, “so will the need for space.”

The renovated Suntrust building, bought by Georgia State for $52 million, now houses the communications office as well as multiple classrooms and workspaces that will be filled this fall, when the building moves into its final stages of completion.

In addition to the Suntrust building, this coming fall semester the university will begin construction on new law and business buildings at the corner of John Wesley Dobbs Avenue and Park Place.

The College of Law building and J. Mack Robinson College of Business will accompany the Georgia State Foundation’s purchase of 55 Park Place, covering over 700,000 total square feet of prime downtown real-estate.

“It’s about time,” business major Josh Kustin said. “We need more space.”

The three story building will also house 21 classrooms, a 230-seat auditorium and a full-size courtroom with three additional hearing rooms and breakout rooms.

 Costing the state about $58.8 million in owed bonds, the College of Law’s new building will be twice the size of the current Urban Life building and will cover 200,00 gross square feet.

“It’s step towards Georgia State’s leading rols as one of the top business schools,” Kustin said. “I’m excited to see it all unfold.”