AT&T City Center

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AT&T City Center, October 2010

AT&T City Center (formerly BellSouth City Center, BellSouth Building and South Central Bell Building) is a 390-foot-tall, 30-story office tower located at 600 19th Street North, at the northwest corner of 6th Avenue North. With 688,000 square feet of leasable space, it is Birmingham's largest office building, and is virtually tied with the Regions Center as the city's third-tallest skyscraper. Until 2018 it served primarily as corporate office space for South Central Bell and its successors. It is owned and leased by J. P. Morgan Chase Bank.

Construction of the tower commenced in 1968 and was complete by 1971. It was designed by the New York architectural firm of Kahn & Jacobs with Warren Knight & Davis serving as the local architect of record. The strikingly modern design of the tower features horizontal bands of dark pearl granite and glass contrasting with a pair of vertical white marble pylons and a two-story white marble top. The tower is rotated 45 degrees relative to the street grid in a departure from the typical building orientation in downtown Birmingham.

The interior lobby is noted for a large, metallic mobile designed by Lin Emery of New Orleans and a 70-foot mosaic wall along the corridor between the lobby and adjacent seven-story, 650-car parking deck. The skyscraper was constructed by the Henry C. Beck Company of Atlanta, Georgia. It's structural frame contains 8,350 tons of steel.

Originally only the Bell System logo adorned the top band of the tower. In the 1990s the BellSouth logo was added. In June 2007, the BellSouth signage was replaced with the AT&T wordmark and "globe" logo, which is sixteen feet in diameter.

BellSouth City Center, March 2007

In 1994, an $80 million asbestos cleanup and renovation of the building commenced after BellSouth officials decided to consolidate local operations downtown instead of building new elsewhere. The project was completed with Brasfield & Gorrie serving as general contractor on April 1, 1998. On July 15, 1998, the name of the tower was officially changed from the BellSouth Building to BellSouth City Center to differentiate it from the BellSouth campus at the Colonnade. The renovation was recognized as the first building in the state by the EPA and U.S. Department of Energy with its Energy Star Label for Buildings.

On June 21, 2007, the tower was officially renamed AT&T City Center to reflect the 2006 purchase of BellSouth by AT&T. In December 2013 AT&T put 252,000 square feet of office space on floors 16-27 up for lease. By 2017 the building, which had once housed as many as 2,000 South Central Bell employees, was used by only about 300 workers. That April AT&T announced that the remaining workers would be relocated either to the AT&T Data Center in Hoover or to other facilities before its lease ended in March 2018.

References

  • Williams, Roy L. (November 4, 1997) "BellSouth renovation, asbestos cleanup work now ahead of schedule." The Birmingham News
  • Tomberlin, Michael (July 15, 1998) "Skyline signature building renamed BellSouth City Center." The Birmingham News
  • Tomberlin, Michael (August 23, 1999) "BellSouth to receive EPA recognition for energy-saving building." The Birmingham News
  • McCauley, Charles R. (June 22, 2007) "AT&T logo goes up downtown." The Birmingham News
  • Tomberlin, Michael (December 14, 2013) "AT&T City Center puts 12 stories, 252,000 square feet on Birmingham's office market." The Birmingham News
  • Poe, Kelly (April 25, 2017) "AT&T moving all employees out of the City Center building by March 2018." The Birmingham News

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