The Ardent Cos. is becoming an even bigger player in Buckhead’s office market.
The real estate investment firm recently acquired its latest piece of Piedmont Center, the sprawling office park at Piedmont Road and Georgia 400.
Ardent bought the 16-story Piedmont Center 14 building. It expanded Ardent’s holdings in the familiar Buckhead office park to 10 buildings, or about 1.7 million square feet.
In 2017, it bought five buildings in Piedmont Center (1-4 and 15) for $144 million. The year before, it acquired buildings 9-12 for $76.5 million.
The price of the Piedmont Center 14 transaction was not released. A warranty deed is not yet publicly available through the state’s online database.
Ardent has grown into one of Buckhead’s three largest office landlords, after Cousins Properties Inc. (NYSE: CUZ) and Highwoods Properties Inc. (NYSE: HIW).
It will be interesting to see whether Ardent makes a play for the only Piedmont Center buildings left that it doesn’t own. Granite Properties is the landlord of Piedmont Center buildings 5-8.
Something else to watch is the possible emergence of a tech corridor on Piedmont between Lenox and Roswell roads. Ardent would be a major influence on the corridor’s potential. Piedmont Center covers more than 50 acres. It can connect with the PATH 400 Greenway, a multi-use trail that weaves its way through Buckhead. Atlanta Tech Village, which houses many of the city’s upcoming technology startups, is also just a short walk from Piedmont Center.
The Piedmont Technology Corridor is an idea that started with Atlanta Tech Village creator David Cummings. He’s seen the potential for years.
“We have talked with him about how we can both work together on the future of Piedmont Road,” said Scott Werbel, a managing director with Ardent.
More startups that graduate from Atlanta Tech Village use Piedmont Center as a landing spot. It’s an affordable alternative to Buckhead’s gleaming office towers.
Over time, if enough tech companies continue to stay on Piedmont Road it could develop into one of the city’s micro hubs for tech.
Piedmont Road is also slowing becoming filled with denser, walkable projects. Next to Piedmont Center, Mill Creek Residential is developing 300 apartments and almost 20,000 square feet of retail.
The project will feature several new restaurants and a 166-room Element hotel.
“It’s bringing walkability to the area,” Werbel said.
That helps Piedmont Center feel more connected to the rest of Buckhead, he added.