Georgia State’s footprint in the heart of the city is growing and adding vitality to downtown Atlanta.
Is Georgia State downtown’s savior?
That was the question posed by editors at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to President Mark Becker two years ago when it was first announced Georgia State was the lead suitor for the 77 acres of Turner Field and its surrounding parking lots.
The question is a rhetorical one. In less than two decades, the university has added more than a million square feet of development, built two state-of-art research buildings, added more than 5,000 student residences and has adaptively reused downtown buildings left behind by banks, law firms and other businesses that have relocated to the suburbs.
These buildings are the most recent additions to Georgia State’s physical space: a new campus gateway, a tower dedicated to science, a 1,100-bed student housing facility and a three-building academic corridor mixing old and new construction.
The university is undoubtedly in a dynamic period of improvement and expansion, and as it embarks on largest real estate deal in university history with the Turner Field parcel (which is a whole other story…) it can be said without hesitation that Georgia State is the lifeblood in the heart of Atlanta.
Adjacent to the Petit Science Center at the corner of Decatur Street and Piedmont Avenue, the second tower of the Science Center was constructed to accommodate the rapid growth of research at the university. Opening this fall, the $25 million building provides five additional floors to house Georgia State’s biomedical research teams and projects.
THE WOODRUFF CORRIDOR
In 2011, Georgia State purchased the 28-story SunTrust tower and its plaza, renaming it 25 Park Place. It became the linchpin in the university’s ambitious Woodruff Park District Plan — an academic corridor Georgia State has created on Park Place across from Woodruff Park. The university owns the 55 Park Place building, which will soon be home to the Robinson College of Business and the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. Georgia State opened its newly constructed College of Law building this past spring.
Bottom right is the former bank lobby that is being restored as the home of the Creative Media Industries Institute, an interdisciplinary institute that offers degree programs that build upon the university’s strengths in computing, film, music technology, digital writing, creative writing and the visual arts. The building (rendering below) is set to open in the spring.
In August, students began moving into Georgia State’s newest housing and dining hall complex. Named Piedmont Central, the new building at the corner of Piedmont and John Wesley Dobbs avenues houses about 1,100 students and is the second largest student housing facility on campus. Georgia State now provides living space for more than 20 percent of its students.
The five-story building at 100 Auburn Ave. was once home to the Atlanta Life Insurance Company, one of the most successful African-American-owned insurance companies. Opened in 2013 as Georgia State’s Centennial Hall, it houses the offices of the president, other Georgia State departments and the Welcome Center.
Photos by William Davis and Meg Buscema. Photo direction by Basil Iskandrian.