The Terraces Get A Face Lift

MetLife Investment Management is launching a $15 million renovation of The Terraces, the twin 11-story buildings that have been part of the Perimeter Mall area skyline since the 1980s.

MetLife (NYSE: MET), which bought the 1.1.-million-square-foot project five years ago, is keeping pace with the area’s gradual growth from its suburban roots into a more urban, walkable environment, with access to transit and greater focus on greenspace.

The upgrades come as several Perimeter landlords are dealing with the loss of State Farm Insurance Co. as a tenant. Georgia's largest home and auto insurer continues shifting its workers from short-term office space across the central Perimeter into its new 8,000-employee Dunwoody campus.

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The massive employment hub has been held up as a new model for the outdated suburbs, with plazas, walkways, greenspace and an active pedestrian environment.

State Farm has been a tenant in several Perimeter office buildings, including Terraces. By next spring, MetLife anticipates about 50 percent vacancy is possible, with State Farm having moved out of its space. The project’s renovations are meant to appeal to the modern workforce, whose employees feel more productive unchained from their desks.

Global architectural design firm, HKS and landscape architecture firm, HGOR, are overseeing the sweeping upgrades. One change features the creation of a virtual outdoor living room, where employees can work in gathering spaces around the Terraces’ three-acre lake.

The increased focus on outdoor spaces takes advantage of Terraces’ location. The project has a large retail amenity base at its doorstep because of Perimeter Mall, which is surrounded by stores and shops and dozens of restaurants.

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MetLife has hired Jones Lang LaSalle to lead leasing efforts. So far, activity in the Perimeter remains strong. Some 775,000 square feet of tenants have either toured or inquired about Terraces, said JLL’s Brooke Dewey.

MetLife is typically a patient investor, and Terraces is a long-term play. In 2013, it bought the project for $190 million, or $173 a foot, which would be bargain in Atlanta’s current office market of rising rental rates and high construction costs.

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