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Downtown Atlanta is going digital—and it’s not all good news

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Some of downtown’s most prime real estate is going to computers, and that’s probably not ideal

Looking down a row of servers.
Downtown Atlanta’s future?
Christian Orlandi

After decades of flight from downtown Atlanta, residents and businesses are starting to return to the neighborhood that was once the bustling core of the city.

But technology, to a degree, could be standing in the way of success.

While office towers have continued to thrive throughout the decades, retail and residents haven't been a major fixture in the neighborhood for years.

Now, the presence of many of the city's largest office towers is driving demand for digital storage and power well beyond what the oldest part of Atlanta is capable of handling.

To accommodate, chunks of prime real estate are being devoted to server farms.

According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, a large amount of square footage of the American Cancer Society building, fronting Centennial Olympic Park, is going to be turned over to digital technology.

Plans call for the addition of more than 18,000 square feet of data storage space to what is already considered one of the largest data centers in the Southeast.

The American Caner Society Building, fronting Centennial Olympic Park.
Matthew Lee

That prime downtown real estate won't be the first to be consumed by machines—rather than actual humans.

Much of 180 Peachtree Street—for nearly 80 years the home to Davison's and Macy's department store—has been turned from bustling retail to humming server farm, the ABC reports.

And one of the few remaining non-electrically powered tenants, architecture firm Stanley Beaman Sears, will soon be relocating to allow for more computers to fill their Peachtree Street-facing offices.

While computers may not be taking over just yet, they are beginning to displace people—and vibrancy—in downtown Atlanta.

American Cancer Society

250 Williams Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30303