Atlanta real estate observers had high hopes for the 550 Pharr Road building's conversion from 1970s-era office space to trendy apartments, but it appears that transformation isn't going to happen. The building, which marries WWII-era bunker aesthetics with oddball cubism, fell into foreclosure and was scooped up for $7 million in 2012. Investors brought in LA-based Coe Architecture and unveiled exciting plans that looked like anything but the kind of fabricated, brand-new apartments that are replicated in multiple cities. But Bisnow reports that those plans have fizzled, and a new group of investors is bringing the building back to its original use: office space. Womp womp.
The project could have broken the Atlanta mold on several levels. Historically speaking, when older offices were repurposed into residential, the focus was usually on structures that had some kind of redeeming qualities: the post-industrial intrigue of the Fulton Cotton Mill, or the limitless possibilities of big, spare spaces found in Midtown's Peachtree Lofts, for instance.
The most dramatic change would have involved the building's central glass cube. Plans called for a striking feature with vibrant color and a healthy dose of balconies. The reborn edifice was meant to house about 100 new units, with a five-bedroom penthouse topping the whole thing off.
With the project's DOA status, crestfallen real estate observers might turn their attention to similar office-to-apartment initiatives around town. Such as Paces Properties' rumored plans to reshape a vacant 20-story office tower downtown — the former SunTrust Banks building at 250 Piedmont Ave. — into something people will pay to temporarily live in.
· 550 Pharr: Office, Then Apartment, Then Back Again [Bisnow]
· How to Bring Ugly Offices from East Berlin to West Hollywood [Curbed Atlanta]
· Vacant Downtown Tower Could Become Apartments [Curbed Atlanta]
[550 Pharr Road photo: BuckheadView]