Published on August 4th, 2016 |0
Loudermilks return to renew Aaron Building where Buckhead legacy began
Charlie’s son Robin Loudermilk, president and CEO of The Loudermilk Cos., told a group of about 30 representatives of the building’s redevelopment team, “This is bittersweet. I have been coming in and out of this building since 1979” when his father bought the building at 309 East Paces Ferry Road to house Aaron’s headquarters.
The Loudermilks left the Aaron company in recent years—Charlie as chairman of the board and Robin as president—and the building remained as property of Aaron’s until October of last year when the management of Aaron’s moved its headquarters to Cobb County and the building went on the market.
The Loudermilk Cos. and its two real estate developer partners, Knox Properties and the Redan Group, bought the building—with the blessing and more of Charlie Loudermilk—and have set out to make it an upbeat, modernized Buckhead Village office jewel. Redan Group is headed up by former Cousins Properties Inc. executive Cameron Golden.
The building has an East Paces Ferry address but fronts on North Fulton Drive, across the street from The Residences Buckhead Atlanta and The Shops Buckhead Atlanta. Robin Loudermilk told has said, “The family feels like this is a legacy property.” It has been a Buckhead fixture since the 1960s.
The renovations are planned to convert the building into loft office space, with a brick exterior, exposed ceilings, natural light, and a waffle-like pattern of concrete beams that will stretch across each floor of the building. There will also be 17,000 square feet of ground floor retail along North Fulton Street Avenue.
“We are very excited to reposition this building,” Robin Loudermilk told the luncheon group Aug. 1, which represented every phase of the redevelopment team—from the construction team Balfour Beatty, the architect Roland Davidson, and through the financial team of North Georgia Bank, marketing team and Loudermilk Cos. employees.
“We are really proud to be back involved with the building with this first-class, top-notch team,” he added.
The three generations of the Loudermilk family that were involved in the event included Charlie, Robin and his wife Francis and the youngest member of the Loudermilk Cos., Charlie’s grandson, Charles (Charlie) Loudermilk III.
Charlie Loudermilk founded Aaron’s in 1955, built the company into a rent-to-own giant, and along the way became one of the city’s most prominent businessmen and civic leaders. He started the Buckhead Coalition and contributed several million dollars to Buckhead’s The Lovett School and also to the restoration of the Buckhead Theatre.
A park in the heart of the Buckhead Village bears Charlie Loudermilk’s name and a statue of the man who’s family name has been synonymous with
Buckhead for more than a half century. The park was reopened after a $2.5 million renovation, much of it paid for by Loudermilk himself.
Charlie, wearing a shirt with the Aaron’s logo on it, told the luncheon group that Aaron’s had 15 rent-to-own stores when he moved the company into the building on East Paces Ferry Road, from the back of the 14th Street store.
“I bought the building for $1 million–$50,000 down payment and the balance financed at 6 percent,” told the group. “We had 2001 stores when Robin and I retired from Aaron’s.”
Charlie punctuated the investment of getting back into the building stating, “The $1 million original purchase price, became $14 million to buy it back.”
Looking around the room at the luncheon, the patriarch of the family noted that there was not a single African-American in the room. “This is not representative of Atlanta,” said the man who was chairman of Andrew Young’s campaign for mayor years ago.
He admonished those in the crowd to actively work to hire African-Americans.
The Loudermilk family continues to shape development in the Buckhead Village, where it remains one of the district’s largest landholders, with several new projects announced or under construction—at last three new projects (2 new office buildings and a condo/retail project) within a couple of blocks of the Aaron Building.