After more than 40 years as an architect practicing in Peachtree Center, Dr. Morton Gruber, an Atlanta native, has retired. Having been a tenant in Peachtree Center since its inception, we were excited to sit down with Dr. Gruber and reminisce on his time here.
What were Peachtree Center and Downtown Atlanta like during your first years at Peachtree Center?
I have always enjoyed the amenities and conveniences of Peachtree Center. Having previously worked on Fairlie Street where one would travel to banks like
the C&S or the Fulton National, or to restaurants like Leb’s, Herren’s, or The Playboy Club, it became a pleasure to condense and improve activities and destinations into a focused urban community. Atlanta was a sleepy town of storefronts and low density. Portman’s Peachtree Center became a focused environment with all of the best that Atlanta had to offer, including new restaurants, the Hyatt Regency and the Merchandise Mart. Today, tenants are just a few steps away from a plethora of food types, dry cleaners, banks, drug stores, clothing, parking, a variety of hotels and many other amenities. I never wanted to stray away from Peachtree Center.
Speaking of restaurants and amenities, what is your favorite restaurant at Peachtree Center (old or new, open or closed)?
There are many wonderful restaurants in and around Peachtree Center. As an old-timer, I must admit that my all-time favorite for lunch and dinner was the now- extinct Danish Midnight Sun restaurant which was located just off Peachtree Street, in today’s food court location. I can clearly still taste their Cherries Jubilee dessert. On an upper level at the rear of the Peachtree Center Courtyard, I also enjoyed (and I do miss) the great food and entertainment of the Midnight Sun Dinner Theater.
What was your biggest career moment at Peachtree Center?
A large part of our national architectural practice was designing restaurants, retail shops and stores in nearly all states. So, it was a source of great pride when I could design so many of the restaurants, shops and stores located downstairs within Peachtree Center. Having our design and construction conferences at tables right there in the food court was certainly convenient.
What is your favorite Peachtree Center memory?
What I will always remember and cherish about Peachtree Center is the care and attention we always received from friendly management services. I appreciated it all—the holiday decorations, the breakfasts for tenants, and the efficiency and promptness with which any tenant’s needs were met. If I could, I would stay another 40 years in Peachtree Center.
(photo: West Lake MARTA Station, designed by Morton Gruber, AIA)