Photo courtesy of Tech Communications

On June 13, the Georgia Tech Foundation (GTF) announced its acquisition of the Biltmore from the Novare Group for an undisclosed price.

The Biltmore is located along West Peachtree Street across from the Scheller College of Business, at the east end of Tech Square.

The purchase does not include the Biltmore Residences, but does include the office space belonging to several engineering firms, startups and energy companies such as SouthStar Energy Services, Pindrop Security and Kimley-Horn and Associates. The purchase amounts to approximately 290,000 square feet, including the ballrooms, offices and retail space.

Al Trujillo, president of the GTF, is committed to preserving the historical status of the building, stating “[the GTF] will continue the legacy of appropriate financial and operational stewardship of this remarkable treasure,” and that “the purchase of this property will not affect the historical status of the building.”

GTF Chairman Gary T. Jones believes that acquiring the building is preserving a core part of Tech Square.

“This [purchase] simply strengthens what is one of the country’s most energetic technology ecosystems and is a wonderful example of the connections and collaborations between startups, business leaders, Georgia Tech faculty, students and researchers,” Jones said.

The Atlanta Biltmore opened in 1921 under the ownership of William Candler, financed by the sale of the Coca-Cola company. In the 1980s, the Biltmore closed down for conversion into apartments, a project which failed, leaving the building in a state of disrepair.

The Novare Group acquired the Biltmore in 1998 and renovated the building to include loft office space, as well as restoring the historical ballrooms to their former status. Under the ownership of the Novare Group, the building reached 100 percent occupancy.

Jim Borders, president of the Novare Group, cited the full tenancy of the building as a reason behind the decision to sell the Biltmore, stating that “ … the timing was right to bring the Biltmore to market. We had significant interest from several qualified groups, and we are very pleased that Georgia Tech will carry the flag into the future.”

The news of this acquisition comes after news of the development of the new Coda building, which includes 620,000 square feet of office space, with Tech occupying about half once the project is completed in an effort to further cultivate Atlanta’s startup scene. The building will include Tech’s high performance computer center as well as retail space accessible from the ground floor.

Tech Square currently houses Centergy One, a mixed-use development building which contains office space shared by Tech and the Advanced Technology Development Center, a series businesses similar to those contained within the      Biltmore.

The building is adjacent to Tech Square Labs and the Technology Square Research Building, which houses multiple research groups headed by Tech.

The GTF has previously financed projects on behalf of Tech, including the CRC and Tech Square in 2004, both of which are leased to the Board of Regents on an annual basis until 2031 and 2032 respectively. Details of any similar agreements for this acquisition are currently unknown.

At this time, the GTF has not announced any specific plans for the Biltmore.