Construction to start on Anthem tech tower in Midtown Atlanta

Health insurance giant Anthem and developer Portman Holdings held a ceremonial kick off for construction Wednesday of a new 21-story Midtown office tower that will hold a technology center for the Fortune 500 company.

Anthem, the parent company of Blue Cross/Blue Shield, plans to use the new center to develop health care apps and software as a greater portion of patient care functions move from paper to digital.

The tower at 4th and West Peachtree streets at Technology Square will have room for some 3,000 information technology and software development personnel. It is expected to open in first quarter of 2020.

In October 2016, Anthem announced plans to put 1,800 tech workers at Bank of America Plaza, but a year later, the company announced it would be the anchor tenant of the new Portman tower where it will house both staff and contracted IT professionals.

The project is adjacent to Coda, the new tower Portman is building at Tech Square that includes research space for Georgia Tech, high-powered computing capabilities and office space for corporations. Portman also has land for another tower next to the Anthem office building, which officials say could be another office tower or might feature a mix of uses.

Last year, the board of Invest Atlanta approved a $5 million tax break for Portman for the $105 million tower.

Anthem officials have said attracting top-flight talent from Georgia Tech and accessing the research capabilities of Tech and other Atlanta area research universities were crucial parts of the decision. Atlanta’s cost-of-living, workforce and globally connected airport also were major factors.

In Anthem, the region boasts another blue-chip name on the doorstep of Georgia Tech. Financial technology company NCR recently opened the first phase of its new headquarters campus nearby, and companies including Sage Software, Worldpay and Honeywell have located major corporate offices and tech hubs in Midtown in recent years to tap into the research power and talent of Georgia Tech.

Late last year, global consultancy Accenture announced a new innovation hub and 800 new jobs at Tech Square.

The innovation labs and headquarters that have opened in Midtown since the Great Recession span the gamut of sectors, including financial technology, health care, utilities and IT.

Kevin Green, president of the Midtown Alliance, said the Anthem project is one of 22 large scale construction projects within a square mile of Tech Square, and that same area has seen 17,000 created or announced new jobs since 2015.

The project, he said, is a testament to the growing technology ecosystem.

“Anthem, as we know, could have planted their flag anywhere,” he said.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms noted the cultural anchors of Midtown as well as its transit connectivity as key pillars of Midtown’s growth.

“Great companies are choosing to come into the heart of the city,” she said.

Ambrish Baisiwala, CEO of Portman Holdings, said the tower will have a lower than typical parking ratio among Atlanta office buildings, putting greater emphasis on public transit, biking and ridesharing as commute options.

Atlanta’s spate of tech announcements comes as it is in a pitched battle to win Amazon’s second headquarters project, known as HQ2. Atlanta is one of 20 communities on the e-commerce and tech giant’s shortlist.

Travis Garland, the head of leasing for Portman, said major corporations want proximity to Georgia Tech. Win or lose in the Amazon derby, Atlanta’s placement among the top rivals for Amazon’s 50,000 promised jobs puts the Atlanta technology scene on the national stage, Garland said.

The groundbreaking for the Anthem tower also comes about two months after the death of Portman Holdings founder and namesake John Portman Jr., the famed architect and developer who built Atlanta’s Peachtree Center and buildings that dot skylines from Shanghai to San Francisco.

“The good news today is the platform he created carries on,” Baisiwala said. “We’re here to launch our next project. He will always be an inspiration to us.”

In other local development news:


AJC Business reporter J. Scott Trubey keeps you updated on the latest news about economic development and commercial real estate in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on, including these stories:

Never miss a minute of what's happening in local business news. Subscribe to

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Business

Hartsfield-Jackson to rebid CNN contract
Hartsfield-Jackson to rebid CNN contract
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport plans to extend its contract for CNN Airport Network programming airing around the terminal and concourses, as it makes plans to rebid the contract. Atlanta-based CNN’s current contract for network news broadcast system at the Atlanta airport started in 2006. The contract was due to expire in 2016 and...
Ex-Equifax exec is arraigned and freed; pleads not guilty
Ex-Equifax exec is arraigned and freed; pleads not guilty

Jun Ying sat silently in court Thursday while Magistrate Judge Linda Walker debated the merits of letting him await trial a free man. The slightly built Ying, the former chief information officer of a sizeable Equifax unit, wore a tieless, blue dress shirt, black, beltless pants and a chain that bound his ankles. He was indicted Tuesday on charges...
Mercedes announces innovation lab as it opens Sandy Springs HQ
Mercedes announces innovation lab as it opens Sandy Springs HQ

Mercedes-Benz will open an innovation lab in metro Atlanta to dream up new products and business lines, a surprise announcement Thursday that came as the German automaker opened its glistening new North American headquarters in Sandy Springs. Lab1886, a reference to the year the founders of Mercedes’ parent company, Daimler Group, built the first...
High Museum photography exhibit features views of Hartsfield-Jackson
High Museum photography exhibit features views of Hartsfield-Jackson
A new photography exhibit that debuted this month at the High Museum of Art features images of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The exhibit, called “Mark Steinmetz: Terminus” at the Atlanta museum running March 3-June 3 includes more than 60 works by Steinmetz, an Athens-based photographer. The exhibit is located on the lower level...
Mercedes-Benz USA to open Sandy Springs headquarters
Mercedes-Benz USA to open Sandy Springs headquarters

Mercedes-Benz USA on Thursday will hold a ceremonial opening its permanent home in Sandy Springs, a North American headquarters that will eventually house about 1,000 high-paid corporate jobs. The $93 million complex at Abernathy and Barfield roads near Ga. 400 is a calling card for company, and a symbol of the company’s new start in metro Atlanta...
More Stories