Atlanta Bank of America Plaza
The Bank of America Plaza is a skyscraper located in Midtown Atlanta. Standing 1,023 ft (311.8 m), it ranks as the 24th tallest building in the world. It is also the tallest building in the United States outside of Chicago and New York City, Georgia's tallest building, and the tallest building in any U.S. state capital. It has 55 stories of office space and was completed in 1992, when it was called the NationsBank Building. Originally intended to be the headquarters for C&S/Sovran Bank, it became NCNB/NationsBank's property following the 1991 merger of C&S/Sovran and NCNB. The Bank of America Plaza was the last American skyscraper built to be one of the ten tallest in the world (in the 14 years since its construction all new entries onto the top ten list have been in Asia). Currently, the largest tenant is the law firm of Troutman Sanders LLP.
Built in only 14 months (one of the fastest construction schedules for any 1,000 ft (300 m) building), The Plaza's imposing presence is heightened by the dark color of its exterior. It soars into the sky with vertical lines that reinforce its height while also creating an abundance of revenue-generating corner offices. Located over 3.7 acres (1.5 ha) on Peachtree Street, the tower faces its border streets at a 45-degree angle to maximize the views to the north and south.
There is a 90 ft (27 m) obelisk-like spire at the top of the building echoing the shape of the building as a whole. Most of the spire is covered in 23 karat (96%) gold leaf. The open-lattice steel pyramid underneath the obelisk glows orange at night due to lighting. At its most basic, this is a modern interpretation of the Art Deco theme seen in the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. The inhabited part of the building actually ends abruptly with a flat roof. On top of this is built a pyramid of girders, which are gilded and blaze at night. Its design has been characterized as similar to the Messeturm in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Two low-power TV stations currently share an antenna at the top of the building: WANN-LP (32), and WDTA-LP (53), though the latter has applied to move about a half-mile south. In addition, the tower also hosts several amateur radio repeaters.
The building was developed by Cousins Properties and designed by the architectural firm Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates LLC. According to published reports in Commercial Property News and Commercial Mortgage Alert, the building was recently sold for $436 million-- a record price at $348 per square foot-- to BentleyForbes, a Los Angeles real estate investment firm headed by C. Frederick Wehba.
The skyscraper, built at a 45-degree angle to the city's street grid, is set back off of its eastern and western street boundaries, Peachtree Street and West Peachtree Street, by over 50 yards (45 m). This setback is filled, variously, by driveways, parking garage entrances, potted plants, granite staircases, and sloping lawns. Though the building directly abuts the sidewalk on North Avenue, its northern boundary, the only access to this street is through a parking garage entrance that has been frequently closed since 2001.
Some urban planners decry the building as a Corbusian "tower in a park", as it actively disengages itself from the urban environment surrounding it. Because it includes no street-level pedestrian entrance and entirely omits sidewalk-facing retail space, critics argue that the building encourages its tenants to access it primarily by car and to remain inside the complex during the day.
In recent years, developers have rumored that the land under the surrounding driveways and lawns may soon be ripe for redevelopment into low- and mid-rise mixed-use buildings with street-fronting uses as the area urbanizes and the value of land in Midtown Atlanta increases.