ATLANTA (Nov. 9, 2010) - Cox Enterprises has donated the former Atlanta Journal-Constitution headquarters complex, valued at more than $50 million, to the city of Atlanta.
The city will use the complex at Marietta and Forsyth streets in downtown for several purposes, including office space for its employees. The complex includes a nine-story office building and large industrial component that contains warehouse space and the paper's old printing presses.
The AJC vacated the Marietta Street complex earlier this year and moved its main newsroom at 223 Perimeter Center Parkway near Perimeter Mall.
"This generous and indeed unprecedented gift is worth over $50 million," Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said at a morning press conference where the donation was announced. (Reed is shown answering questions after the press conference in photo. COO Peter Aman is in center of background with yellow tie.)
The mayor said Cox's gift has to be the largest single donation of its kind to Atlanta - or any other city - in recent memory.
"Show me when the city of Atlanta has received a gift like this - really," the mayor said. Atlanta Chief Operating Officer Peter Aman agreed. "It is a stunning gift to the city."
During his remarks, Mayor Reed acknowledged Carter President Scott Taylor for his help. "I also want to thank Scott Taylor for being involved in the early process," the mayor said.
Taylor was involved in early discussions about potential uses for the vacant AJC property. CBRE Vice Chairman John Shlesinger, who represents Cox Enterprises in its real estate transactions, played a key role in the donation.
Reed said the repurposing of the headquarters complex will help the Marietta Street corridor, which has been "different" since the paper shut down its downtown operation. "The reopening of the doors at 72 Marietta will bring new life and energy and vitality to the area," he said. "[City employees] will literally be in a building that's a jewel."
The new office space will help the city of Atlanta eliminate about $2 million in lease payments over a phased in period. This will more than offset the $100,000 in annual property taxes Cox paid on the AJC complex.
The mayor and Aman also stressed that the donation by Cox will benefit generations to come. "It's about caring for the long-term vitality ... of the city," Reed said. "It will help me and every mayor after me."