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Remembering Midtown's High-Rise Wars of 1987

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This grainy photo of an architectural model (or is it a rendering?) from GSU University Library's Digital Collections harkens to a time nearly three decades ago when a space race was afoot in Midtown. Pictured at right in this 1987 image is the 50-story One Atlantic Center (then known as IBM Tower) and a trifecta of "Promenade" towers pitched by competitor AT&T in an effort to dominate the skyline. The tallest of these structures — each with similar architectural styles and topped with tapered pyramids — would have climbed 57 stories into the clouds. One developer said at the time, "We want Promenade to be a grand civic gesture to Atlanta, as Rockefeller is to New York," according to an archived AJC article. But, alas, a sour economy was around the bend, and only the first phase was built: the 38-story Promenade II, which opened in 1990 and was touted as being reminiscent of a "crystal cathedral." All told, the Promenade complex was planned to have 2.1 million square feet of office space alone, surrounding a courtyard of pools, fountains and retail that developers hoped would be Midtown's "town square." Further proof that Atlanta's streets are paved with the ashes of failed skyscraper dreams.