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Former General Foods offices to be converted to corporate center Developer Charles Steven Cohen of Cohen Bros. Realty Corp. and architect Philip Johnson have just released their plans to convert the former General Foods Corp. headquarters complex in White Plains, N.Y., into a modern corporate center designed to house large tenants. The 39-acre campus, which served as General Foods' home for more than 40 years, comprises four interconnected mid-rise office buildings with 600,000 sq. ft. of available space.

New plans, subject to local government approval, call for the complex - now known as 333 Westchester Avenue - to be redesigned for multiple corporate tenants. "The repositioning of 333 Westchester Avenue as a multiple-tenant facility mandated a completely new architectural concept." Johnson says. "Essentially, its statement of uniformity was no longer appropriate, and the new architectural theme underscores distinctiveness and individual identity among the buildings within the complex."

Beitler/CS First Boston venture buys five Chicago Loop buildings In a joint venture with Credit Suisse First Boston, Beitler Development Corp. Chairman J. Paul Beitler has acquired five Chicago Loop office buildings from an affiliate of Helmsley-Spear for $121 million. Beitler's firm will manage and lease the 2 million sq. ft. portfolio, which includes One North LaSalle and 360 N. Michigan Ave., for the joint venture. Another property in the portfolio, One North Dearborn, is slated to be the new flagship downtown store for Sears. Beitler is quite familiar with all of the buildings; he was hired by Helmsley-Spear in 1973 as the leasing agent for the five properties.

Beitler's company will oversee an extensive renovation program that will restore or replace the buildings' lobbies and equip the properties with new elevators. APC Realty Advisors of New York represented Beitler in the deal.

Legg Mason arranges peachy deal for Atlanta office building The Jacksonville, Fla., regional office of Legg Mason Real Estate Services (LMRES) has arranged $25.5 million in first-mortgage financing for the 230 Peachtree Building in downtown Atlanta. The financing was arranged by LMRES through its lending relationship with Cohen Financial.

The 423,000 sq. ft., 35-year-old building at 230 Peachtree is undergoing a renovation that will upgrade it to Class- A status and boost its market position, LMRES Senior Vice President Joel Coykendall says.

Insignia/ESG and LNR still seeking anchor tenant for renovated downtown tower ATLANTA - When Insignia Financial Group and Lennar Partners, a subsidiary of LNR Property Corp., announced plans in mid-1997 to renovate a 36-story Class-B tower in downtown Atlanta, they thought they had found a diamond in the rough. They would transform the building- then known as 101 Marietta Tower - at the entrance to Centennial Olympic Park into prime Class-A space that would attract major tenants to replace federal agencies that had bolted for the new Atlanta Federal Center.

More than a year later, it is still to be seen whether the plan will work. The building opened Oct. 15, sporting a $28 million renovation. Still, most of the building - now known as Centennial Tower - is empty and the star broker brought in to lease up the renovated structure has left and been replaced by the son of a longtime broker. The tower is 12% leased, but the owners were expected to announced a 100,000 sq. ft. user by the end of the month.

At the tower, now emblazoned with a lighted chevron easily seen on Atlanta's skyline, Steve Rothschild, regional director of leasing for Insignia/ESG, is optimistic. Based on prospect activity, Rothschild is hopeful the building will be 40% to 50% leased by year end. "We are seeing every large deal out in the marketplace because I'm sitting on 600,000 sq. ft. of empty space," he says.

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