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In Atlanta, Skyline-Altering Condo Is Scrapped

JPX Kills Landmark Emerson Project, Hires Jones Lang LaSalle to Market Land
July 9, 2018
Atlanta's most ambitious condo development -- with prices starting at $2.2 million and a singularly stunning design -- has been canceled.

JPX Works, an Atlanta-based design-driven development firm founded by Jarel Portman, has decided to scrap plans for The Emerson, a 41-unit condo at 2520 Peachtree Rd. and has hired Jones Lang LaSalle to market the property as a development site. Portman confirmed the change in plans to CoStar News late Sunday. JPX is focusing on an outright sale of the land. The construction fencing was covered with a Jones Lang LaSalle marketing wrap in the past week.

JPX Works instead will focus on other developments including its lilli Midtown, a 24-story, 147-unit apartment tower near the Fox Theatre, as Jones Lang LaSalle works to sell the 1.84-acre Peachtree Road tract near Peachtree Battle Shopping Center. JPX demolished a three-story multifamily building on the property in anticipation of starting construction this month but this spring it began considering selling the land instead, or delaying the development until the next upswing in Atlanta real estate.

“Our great city deserves quality, innovative architecture, and we regret that Emerson Buckhead and its striking design will not materialize. Our team will continue to evaluate new opportunities, push the envelope with bold ideas and move forward with our current development pipeline, including lilli Midtown, which recently opened on June 22. We look forward to exploring our options for 2520 Peachtree Road,” said a JPX Works spokesperson.

While Atlanta's rental multifamily market has boomed during this upcycle, especially in Buckhead, Midtown and the Old Fourth Ward, the condo market has been slow to take off as younger residents shy away from home ownership and mortgages. Farther north on Peachtree Road, near its intersection with Roswell Road, The Charles and Sutton condominium developments are under construction, but the area has not seen the exuberant condo development of past real estate booms. For that reason and its high price points -- and the fact its design would have stood out in a traditional section of Buckhead -- The Emerson was viewed as an aggressive project.

The 19-story condo's design with its pinwheel effect created by units stacked asymmetrically atop one another, wowed the local architectural community. Atlanta architecture firm Rule Joy Trammel + Rubio and Perkins + Will were part of the design team.

JPX had even found a buyer for the $6 million penthouse, according to CoStar research.

Jarel Portman had hoped The Emerson would pay homage to the architectural brilliance of his father, the late John Portman who died in December 2017, leaving behind a legacy of design and developments that altered skylines in downtown Atlanta and cities including Detroit, San Francisco, New York, Seoul, Shanghai and Beijing.

"This is the architecture of tomorrow's Atlanta," the development team said on The Emerson's website.

JPX acquired the 1995 building, existing condos and site at 2520 Peachtree in 2015 and opened a sales office for The Emerson in August 2016.

Scott Cullen, an executive vice president in Jones Lang LaSalle's Development and Asset Strategy Group, and Mark Lindenbaum, a senior vice president in Jones Lang LaSalle's Southeast Land and Development Services, set up a teaser website at to kick off marketing efforts for the site where The Emerson was to have risen.

Tony Wilbert, Atlanta Market Reporter  CoStar Group   
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