The Passing of an Atlanta Icon: John C. Portman

bruceBy Bruce Kellogg, MAI, FRICS

While only meeting him once or twice during my business travels to Atlanta in the ’70s and early ’80s, I am deeply saddened by the passing of John Portman, an Atlanta icon.  Mr. Portman will always be recognized as the developer who significantly built Atlanta into the major metropolitan city that we know today. He also contributed to Atlanta with his love of the arts and as a benefactor who gave much back through his non-profit activities over the years.

How Mr. Portman impacted me is that, during my employment at major banks in New York City during his building activities throughout the nation and the world, but with a clear focus on Atlanta, I was fortunate to have been asked to complete internal appraisals for construction loans on many of his projects. This brought me to Atlanta often, to the extent that I became familiar with the territory, the growth, the economy, data sources and, of course, the Portman Company and staff. Not only was this a wonderful experience, but I was fortunate to have been given a referral to join a major full-service company in Atlanta during the early ’80s as a result.  After doing my research and realizing advantages to making this major adjustment, we moved and, several years later, we are now considered natives of this still-growing and influential community.

As you can tell, Mr. Portman’s passing brought back many memories relating to my personal life and career.  He was a visionary and fully utilized his architectural education from GA Tech to become one of the most well-known and well-respected developers in the world, but even more known and respected in his hometown of Atlanta, including the development of several major projects, such as Peachtree Center, the Hyatt Regency, Marriott Marquis, the Marts, the Westin Peachtree Plaza, Hotel Indigo and the SunTrust Tower.

Little do icons, such as Mr. Portman, realize their impact on others. Certainly, my story illustrates nothing more than an opportunity and experience I had that ultimately proved very fruitful to my family and me, but it points out that his impact extended far beyond the obvious and tangible results of his personal and corporate contributions to society.  As indicated above, his passing triggered my desire to let others know what a difference he had on me and, undoubtedly, on others who could write a very similar story.

Bruce A. Kellogg has been in the real estate industry for over 40 years, primarily within the valuation profession and also within technology and the solutions developed by ARGUS Software as the Vice President of Industry Relations. 

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