Are Sky Scrapers an anachronism of the “big everything” blue model?
Atlanta’s 55-story Bank of America Plaza, the tallest tower in the Southeast, is set to be sold at an open outcry auction on the steps of the Fulton County Courthouse tomorrow after landlord BentleyForbes missed mortgage payments. It bought the skyscraper in 2006 for $436 million … the 1.25 million-square-foot building has lost 54 percent of its value …
So here’s an interesting question: as more and more wealth generation activity stem from software and thus becomes “virtual” (from the software that is used to replace hardware to the software used to replace business processes and the like), and as more and more things like retail are done on-line (and thus can be relocated anywhere where there is a logistics hub and some large warehouses), will large office complexes become an anachronism?
After all, the existence of large offices reflects land-use decisions when city cores became the central control hub for last generation’s mass-production “centralize everything” economy. But if we are moving to a point where, in the equation on producing goods, centralization doesn’t really buy us very much–and we have to pay for it through concentrated land-use and traffic jams–does having large office complexes make any sense?
It’s no wonder, by the way, that the city of Los Angeles is converting more and more of it’s downtown corridor into residential lofts. That could very well be the wave of the future–people choosing to live in the tall buildings as a lifestyle choice, rather than having to commute to the tall buildings because that’s where the jobs are.
Maybe the Bank of America Plaza can be converted to a mixed-use property?