Bank of America Plaza, the tallest building in Atlanta, as well as one of its most distinctive, is located in the Midtown neighborhood of Atlanta on Peachtree Street, Atlanta's legendary thoroughfare. It is immediately accessible from the Interstate 75/85 Downtown Connector. The building is close to all of Midtown's attractions, including the Woodruff Arts Center, the Ferst Center for the Arts, Atlantic Station, the Varsity, the Atlanta Botanical Garden and Piedmont Park. It is also convenient to both downtown Atlanta and the Buckhead area. Atlanta's public transit system, MARTA, has a train station half-a-block away, and several bus lines serve the area.
Built in 1992, Bank of America Plaza is not only the tallest building in Atlanta, at 1,023 feet (312 m); it is the tallest building in the Southeast, the ninth-tallest in the United States (and the tallest in the country outside of New York and Chicago), and the 35th-tallest in the world. The building was noted for its rapid construction; it was finished in only 14 months, a remarkably short time for a building over 1,000 feet tall. It held another record in Atlanta, as well - when it changed owners in 2006, it sold for $436 million, or $348 per square foot, the highest per-square-foot price of any building ever sold in Atlanta at that time.
The building is built in the Postmodern style of architecture, a style which evolved from the strict rules of Internationalism but differs from the International style by referencing other periods and adding playful, ornamental touches. Bank of America Plaza's Postmodernism echoes the Art Deco style of New York's Empire State Building and Chrysler Building with its graceful, soaring vertical lines and beveled corners, ornamented by its 270-foot top. The building's 55 stories, built in strikingly dark granite, are topped by a 180-foot open steel grid that forms a pyramid, which is then topped by a 90-foot spire. The spire is covered by 405 square feet of 23-karat gold leaf, and the pyramid is lit from within. At night, the top of the building glows a warm, yellow-orange color, which contrasts with the dark color of the building itself.
The interior of Bank of America Plaza is equally inviting. Public areas are contemporary and comfortable. A conference auditorium is available with stadium seating. A 17,000-square-foot health club for tenants offers state-of-the-art equipment, and office workers can eat in a 16,000-square-foot cafeteria. The building integrates with its streetscape through a greenspace with park seating and a dining area. In addition to Atlanta's Bank of America offices, the building contains many of the city's premier law, financial, accounting and real estate firms.
BentleyForbes, Bank of America Plaza's owners, are negotiating to convert the lower 16 floors of the building into a five-star hotel containing 315 rooms. Since this would require moving offices from these floors to other parts of the building, and given the recessionary state of the economy, BentleyForbes has not revealed the name of the hotel. They also hope to bring two upscale restaurants to the building.
Reviews of the skyscraper are mixed - most either love it or hate it. One says, "At night, this building is awe-inspiring.'' Another calls the building "my favorite American skyscraper.'' Typical of the negative comments is this one, saying, "Probably my least-liked 1000-footer on the planet right now ... [especially] that scrap pile on top.'' Either way, Bank of America Plaza is likely to remain Atlanta's tallest building for some time, as plans for the city's growth do not seem to include anymore super-tall skyscrapers.