Rob Halverson, CEO of Portman Architects, joins the Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio podcast to discuss adaptive reuse as well as changing and restoring the architectural face of Atlanta. Halverson joins hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick for the All About Real Estate segment.
Halverson, originally from New York, relocated to Atlanta after working for the largely influential architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. He has been a resident of Atlanta for the past 15 years with wife and daughter. Originally a designer with Portman Architects, Halverson recently celebrated two years as CEO of the company.
Portman Architects designs spaces to positively impact and affect the creativity, productivity and well-being of the occupants. Based in Atlanta with an additional office in Shanghai, Portman Architects services several markets across the country. By prioritizing clients of the firm and developer partners, Portman Architects sets itself apart from other firms in the metro Atlanta area. The company prides itself on working collectively to meet client needs and improve the architectural integrity of projects.
“It’s not necessarily one voice. It’s everyone working together to find the right balance and right solutions for our clients,” said Halverson.
In 1965, before it was Hotel Indigo, the building that houses the renowned hotel was an office space designed by Mr. Portman. An incredible deal in terms of design and adaptive reuse, Portman purchased space at 50% occupancy, moved all office occupants up and converted the lower half into a hotel. The development was Mr. Portman’s final project.
Adaptive reuse is a process very similar to new construction in terms of design and methodology. The potential of the space, as well as ideas, are regularly discovered. By updating a structure and changing the use, code changes and occupancy are essential elements to understand. Understanding what can transform and what must remain stationary is critical.
With an existing structure, reviewing the framework and its history is vital before making changes. When Portman Architects renews an older building, the goal is to make the process seamless and for the construction to appear naturally incorporated into the landscape versus as an added element. Portman Architects believes the process and finished product should be clean, seamless and exceptional.
With cities and buildings constantly changing, the contexts of spaces change just as rapidly. Halverson shared that it is exciting to see the faces of young professionals experiencing the process of adaptive reuse on a construction site. He also revealed that he particularly enjoys mentorship and seeing young professionals learn and grow.
Another important aspect of adaptive reuse is to reinvent space rather than waste it. The process empowers architects to make great strides to keep a development’s integrity and historical significance, elevating the property and its return to the community. Portman Architects believes in giving properties the extra piece it needs to be a building with a story versus just a beautiful construction.
Portman Architects is currently working on South Tower, a Banyan Street property located within the Peachtree Center, originally designed by Mr. Portman. The project is a partnership between Portman Architects and the Peachtree Center to transform the architectural face of downtown Atlanta. Much like how New York repurposed its downtown to include more residential properties, downtown Atlanta is in the process of transitioning into a 24-hour active district. This change will elevate all other businesses within the neighborhood. Halverson predicts it will lead a considerable revitalization in downtown Atlanta.
An immense shift also occurring is Atlanta office spaces as they incorporate more outdoor areas. A hybrid model of reducing the number of days in the office while keeping the square footage is growing in popularity after the past year of working remotely. The layouts of offices are changing, turning to fewer offices and less population with new uses within the footprint.
There is a popular misconception that Atlanta and the metro area are running out of real estate. There are many exciting opportunities within existing buildings for stunning architecture. By using adaptive reuse, occupants get more use out of a building, further enhancing the property. For newer builds, master-planning developments allow developers to look at a space and plan what it could be further down the line, preventing an abundance of unused space.
“When you’re working on all of these projects, the discoveries and the opportunities…sometimes happen by happy little accidents and other times it takes a lot of work.”
Currently, Portman Architects is working on a lower-scale project downtown that is adaptive reuse paired with new build and mixed-use elements. Typically, the company works on high-rise and larger-scale projects, but this particular one is an exciting venture. The firm is also working with its sister company, Portman Holdings, on a project in the Old Fourth Ward. The development is one of the smaller office projects in the company history, uniquely located on the Beltline. Lastly, the company is working on the Hyatt Regency convention center in the Salt Lake City market.
Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee, License #22564. NMLS ID #6606. Subject to borrower and property qualifications. Not all applicants will qualify. New American Funding and Portman Architects are not associated. Click here to view the terms and conditions of products mentioned during the show. Corporate office 14511 Myford Rd., Suite 100, Tustin, CA 92780. Phone: (800) 450-2010. (September/2021)
New American Funding is a family-owned mortgage lender with a servicing portfolio of over 123,000 loans for $30.4 billion, 198 branches, and about 3,100 employees. The company offers several niche loan products and has made Inc. 5000’s list of Fastest-Growing Companies in America six times. It has a state-of-the-art career training facility and develops innovative technology, including the GoGo LO mobile application. For more information, visit www.branch.newamericanfunding.com/Atlanta.
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