Piedmont Atlanta Tower Celebrates Topping Out Ceremony

By Roxanne Squires

ATLANTA — The framing of the 16-story Piedmont Atlanta Tower structure has officially reached completion, while remaining on-budget and on-schedule to open in late summer 2020.

Piedmont Health celebrated the major milestone with its design and construction team, employees and roughly 80 major donors who have made donations of $100,000 or more to support the capital expansion project.

The forthcoming tower will accommodate the Piedmont Heart Institute, which has one of two heart transplant programs in Georgia and is a top destination for cardiovascular care.

The tower includes the new Heart and Vascular Center, made possible through a $75 million donation from The Marcus Foundation, and the tower also will feature the Samsky Invasive Cardiovascular Services Center—a recently pledged portion which took $11 million to establish.

Piedmont Healthcare CEO Kevin Brown, Piedmont Atlanta Hospital CEO Patrick Battey, M.D., and Jim Gorrie, CEO of Brasfield & Gorrie, the project’s general contractor, all gave speeches during the event.

“It is a testament to the talent of the team working on this project that after 27 months the project remains on budget and ahead of schedule, despite the challenging weather that we have endured,” Brown said. “When the project is complete, it will help us to continue to provide world-class cardiovascular care and cutting-edge treatments for untold thousands of patients from throughout the Southeast for years to come.”

“This milestone is the result of the hard work of our project team, client and trade partners, aided by a strong focus on innovation, collaboration, safety and self-perform,” said Brasfield & Gorrie CEO Jim Gorrie. “We are honored to continue our longstanding relationship with Piedmont Healthcare and deliver this transformative facility.”

Piedmont Heart currently ranks in the top five percent in the country among cardiovascular organizations and is the only program in Atlanta consistently recognized with the Cardiac Care Excellence Award from Healthgrades – a mark of quality it has earned for nine years. Piedmont is an international leader in cardiovascular research, enabling patient access to innovative therapies not available elsewhere.

According to data released in 2018 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS), Piedmont Atlanta ranks in the top 10 institutions in the country in Case Mix Index (CMI), which measures which hospitals have the sickest patients. Piedmont Atlanta was the highest-ranked community hospital in the United States by this measure.

“As the Case-Mix Index indicates, our hospital serves some of the sickest patients as a group in the country and, as a result, we have to continue to plan the ways to serve them,” Dr. Battey said. “As the tower project has progressed, we have been tying it into existing structures at Piedmont Atlanta, some of which were built more than 60 years ago, and upgrading certain components along the way. As each day grows closer to the opening of the tower, we continue to grow excited about the ways in which we will be able to better serve our patients.”

Phase II of the tower up-fit will begin in 2022 and one patient floor will be completed per year, except for 2026 when the final two floors will be built out.

The Piedmont Foundation has raised $110 million towards the $150 million fundraising goal it set for the tower.

The entirety of the $603 million expansion project is slated for completion in 2026.

The project is a culmination of dozens of partner companies led by CBRE as program manager, HKS, Inc. as architect, Brasfield & Gorrie as construction contractor, and Morris, Manning, and Martin as outside legal counsel. In addition, more than 1,000 people – patients, staff, neighbors and expansion leadership – provided input on the vision of the project through workshops and advisory meetings.