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In Midtown, work launches on half-billion-dollar Norfolk Southern headquarters

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Significant changes afoot for prominent parking lots

The project’s West Peachtree Street frontage, looking north, where plans have called for a ground-floor café.
The project’s West Peachtree Street frontage, looking north, where plans have called for a ground-floor café.
Cousins Properties renderings via Midtown Alliance/Bisnow; photos: Curbed Atlanta

One of the Midtown Improvement District’s last truly massive parking lots is off-limits to public cars, encircled by fences, and dotted with “No Trespassing” signs as heavy equipment tears it apart.

All are indications that site work is beginning for one of Atlanta’s largest corporate gets in recent memory, the planned $575 million new headquarters for railroad giant and Fortune 500 company Norfolk Southern.

Cousins Properties is planning a 1.4 million-square-foot development for the Midtown block bordered by West Peachtree, 3rd, and Spring streets, and Ponce de Leon Avenue. The project would include a 22-story glass office tower, and as anchor, Norfolk Southern would take the lion’s share of space (roughly 1 million square feet), according to Midtown Alliance.

A Norfolk Southern public relations representative said Wednesday that no updates are available in terms of the project’s timeline and scope, and building permit records offer few compelling details.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle has reported the HQ building could start construction as soon as next this summer, and Norfolk Southern has ambitions of opening shop in 2021. Ultimately, the site—650 West Peachtree Street—would have roughly 13,000 square feet of retail space, too.

The following photos, taken this afternoon, give an indication of the site’s size, its relation to Midtown landmarks, and the potential scope of work to come.

The northwest corner of the block in question at 3rd and Spring streets. Here, an unrelated CA Ventures project calls for a 27-story building marketed toward Georgia Tech students, just south of the Coda project. Meanwhile, a third Portman-developed tower is expected to launch construction near Coda this summer, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports this week.
Photos: Curbed Atlanta
Where site work has gone below street level near The Varsity, with Bank of America Plaza shrouded in the background.
Looking north, construction fencing and trees marked for removal, with buildings erected in the past couple of years forming the backdrop.
Along West Peachtree Street.
Plans call for removal of the former Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School. The three-story building used to house the chancery of the Atlanta Archdiocese.
Backhoe sightings at the corner of West Peachtree and 3rd streets.
Looking south from the project’s West Peachtree Street frontage.
The former public parking lot in context with neighbors.
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