Imagine an office tower rising up from downtown Atlanta to more than 2,000 feet — nearly twice the height of Atlanta's tallest building, Bank of America Plaza. It would dwarf New York's One World Trade Center (1,776 feet) and stand toe-to-toe with the Shanghai Tower, offering more than 5 million square feet of office and exhibition space. As fantastical as that sounds, the idea apparently had some traction back in 1986. The construction database Emporis lists a project called "Atlanta Tower" (alternate name: "International Wholesale Mart") that would have been the world's tallest building in those days, and would still be third tallest. Emporis lists no specific address for this whopper, indicating only that it would have climbed 130 stories downtown at "Forsyth Street SW and Spring Street SW" — two streets that intersect south of downtown, near Interstate 20. Sadly, renderings don't appear to exist online — if they ever did exist.
According to Emporis, the 2,014-foot project was cancelled before its scheduled groundbreaking in 1987. The reasoning? Emporis again: "The building was scrapped because its height would have dwarfed the surrounding skyline." Hmm. Since when did respect for the visibility of neighbors halt projects in Atlanta? "We all know that's a lie," writes one commenter on the Atlanta Development blog. "Atlanta doesn't build towers to fit in with the city (just look at the massive spire that sticks out like a sore thumb on North Avenue) or out of necessity (we're not on an island or anything like that). We build towers because we want to build towers."
Maybe this was a hasty spitball of an idea that never really had a financial foundation to support the vision. Funding difficulties killed other gargantuan projects around Midtown in that era (see GLG Park Plaza above). Still, it's an interesting bit of development history — even if it was ludicrously out of scale — that until now we weren't privy to. Please share any intel on the "Atlanta Tower" if you've got it. Images, too, of course.