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Friday, May 4, 2012

GSU to purchase Atlanta Life, Integral Group headquarters in downtown?

GSU would most likely house Honors College in insurance companys Auburn Avenue headquarters
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  • GSU would most likely house Honors College in insurance company's Auburn Avenue headquarters
Georgia State University's diabolical plan to own every single square inch of downtown Atlanta continues. Maria Saporta reports (sub. req'd.) that the university will ask the state Board of Regents next week for permission to purchase the Auburn Avenue headquarters of Atlanta Life Financial Group, the insurance company that made Alonzo Herndon the city's first black millionaire. (Not to be confused with the insurance company's original neo-classical home located nearby and which sits boarded up and waiting for a second life.) GSU would also scoop up the building that houses intown property developer Integral Group. Saporta says the two properties could cost $10 million:

The five-story building on Auburn Avenue between Courtland Street and Piedmont Avenue has been the home of one of Atlanta's premier African-American companies since 1980. The company was founded as a life insurance enterprise by Alonzo Herndon 107 years ago.

It is a significant change for Atlanta Life, which has been located on that block since 1920. In fact, the former home for Atlanta Life still stands, but the neo-classical building is boarded up and vacant.

Egbert Perry, who is board chairman of Atlanta Life and CEO of Integral Group, said the life insurance company and its related businesses are using only one and a half floors of the 105,000-square-foot building.

Saporta says the Atlanta Life property, which includes a 250-seat auditorium, dining hall, and other features that could be used by the university, would most likely become the home for GSU's Honors College, an exclusive program aimed at "offering talented and motivated undergraduate students an opportunity to be part of a small college yet have access to any of the university's 62 undergraduate majors as well as other enhanced programs and services." Housing services would possibly be located in Integral's offices.

Thankfully, both businesses plan to stick around downtown. Maybe they could help kickstart the wonderful area south of Five Points?

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