The term “affordable housing” doesn’t exactly evoke visions of sweeping skyline views, but the city of Atlanta’s plan to redevelop downtown’s Two Peachtree Street—a 41-story former office tower—into apartments could make that a reality.

The city hopes the developer tapped to lead the revamp will catalyze a residential renaissance for a part of downtown best known for the Five Points MARTA station just south of Two Peachtree. Currently, it’s populated mostly by office workers during the day and people experiencing homelessness around the clock.

Joshua Humphries, the chief housing advisor to Mayor Andre Dickens, on Wednesday led Atlanta Civic Circle on a brief tour of the building, which the city bought from the state of Georgia last year for $39 million. 

Retrofitting an office tower into apartments is a daunting and expensive prospect, with challenges such as additional plumbing for each unit and a lack of light in the deeper interior. Scroll down for an exclusive look at the clay the city and its to-be-tapped development partners are working with.

A photograph of the downtown skyline, as seen from the 41st floor of Two Peachtree
The view from the 41st floor.

How will 2 Peachtree develop?

The city’s economic development arm, Invest Atlanta, issued an initial request for ideas last spring for the colossal adaptive reuse project. In July, it released a request for proposals for developers it short-listed as qualified respondents. They have until Sept. 22 to submit their best pitches. Invest Atlanta anticipates choosing a developer in November.

The RFP doesn’t shed much light on exactly how the city wants to use all of the space in the tower, formerly used for government offices, and an adjacent office building located at 14 Marietta Street, which housed Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.

A photo from the street shows the white GSU office building and the glassy black Two Peachtree skyscraper towering above it.
The former GSU building, right, stands below the tower on Peachtree Street.

But the main part of the mission is clear: The development team that Invest Atlanta selects is supposed to retrofit floors six through 41 into a mix of publicly subsidized and market-rate apartments. At least 200 of them should be priced for renters earning up to 80% of the area median income—or about $77,000 for a family of four.

“Invest Atlanta will prioritize projects with more affordable units at lower AMI levels and respondents who demonstrate past experience with a mix of LIHTC [low-income housing tax credit] affordable housing and market-rate apartments,” the RFP says. 

Many affordable housing developments rely on the federal LIHTC tax subsidy program, administered locally by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

Take a look inside below:

A photo of a dimly lit office, with green walls and a window looking out into the suburbs.
An office on the 41st floor, which could one day be converted to include event space and/or apartments.
A photo of an office with stacks of unused chairs and other furniture.
An abandoned office could become a place to live.
A grey hallway with brown wooden doors.
A 40th floor hallway already resembles and apartment building’s.
A beige hallway leads into a blue elevator lobby, where GSU signage is still installed.
A basement hallway connects Two Peachtree to the old GSU building.
A large white room with wooden tables and metal dollies strewn about.
It’s unclear what could become of the basement.
A photo of a large metal bank vault.
The basement still holds a massive bank vault.
A photo of the locking mechanism of the vault door.
Part of the vault door’s intricate locking mechnaism.
A man stands on the left side of a safety deposit box room.
Josh Humphries inside the bank vault.
A diagram shows plans for the building.

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