Spanx HQ a Great Fit For Buckhead Atlanta
June 28, 2013
Spanx HQ a Great Fit For Buckhead Atlanta
Atlanta Business Chronicle

Douglas Sams and Amy Wenk, Staff Writers

Atlanta's billion-dollar underwear company Spanx Inc. is getting a sexy new headquarters. Spanx is relocating its global offices to Buckhead Atlanta, an 8-acre redevelopment at Peachtree and East Paces Ferry roads. Spanx will also launch a flagship retail store there.

Spanx had its pick of typical Atlanta office towers but the company wanted space that fit with its "innovative and unique" brand, said its founder, Sara Blakely, in a prepared statement.

Buckhead Atlanta developer OliverMcMillan offered more fashionable digs, with loft offices and a large rooftop garden. Spanx will lease 86,000 square feet initially, with an option to expand up to 112,000 square feet. Its headquarters will occupy three floors and boast eye-catching signs, including a multi-story silhouette of a shapely blonde woman.

"The opportunity to house a premier retail store alongside our dream headquarters made Buckhead Atlanta perfect" said Spanx CEO Laurie Ann Goldman.

Spanx plans to move its roughly 200 Atlanta employees in November 2014. The company today is housed at the 50-story 3344 Peachtree tower near Lenox Square mall.

For OliverMcMillan, Spanx likely validates Buckhead Atlanta in the public eye. The project's long delays have frustrated some residents. For much of its short history, the mixed-use development suffered from poor timing. Previous developer Ben Carter launched what he then called Streets of Buckhead, a slice of Rodeo Drive in Atlanta, just as the economy began to slip into a historic recession. Carter was able to land French luxury retailer Hermès and casual tavern Fado's Irish Pub.

But, the project stalled until San Diego developer OliverMcMillan made a bold move in 2011 when, backed with $300 million equity from the Boston hedge fund The Baupost Group LLC, it took control of the troubled development. It later renamed the project Buckhead Atlanta and tweaked its original design.

OliverMcMillan has been tight-lipped about its tenants, but enthusiastic behind the scenes, said Jeff Zeigler, the company's senior managing director of retail services.

"We understand that in Atlanta we might suffer a bit in terms of the naysayers because of the past history," he said. "But what we want to do is quietly prove people wrong, move down our track and really deliver a spectacular project."

Spanx is a big catch for Buckhead Atlanta. The rapidly growing company, founded in 2000, manufactures slimming bodywear, bras, pantyhose and swimwear.

"Spanx is one of Atlanta's wonderful success stories," Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said in a prepared statement. When completed, Buckhead Atlanta will total 1.5 million square feet, including 300,000 square feet of upscale retail stores, restaurants and cafes. Hermès will be one of the first retailers to open.

Spanx will take almost all of the development's office space. Brannan Moss and Josh Hirshwith Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. represented Spanx in the transaction. Amy Fingerhut of CBRE Inc. represented OliverMcMillan.

"We think Spanx is a game-changer,"  Zeigler said. "We just don't think there is a more perfect fit." 

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