Instead of the traditional grand opening ceremony, Piedmont Atlanta Hospital recently unveiled a virtual tour of the new Marcus Tower before the facility officially opened for surgeries and procedures Aug. 3. The tower initially opened April 13, almost four months early, to make more intensive care unit beds available during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But when hospital leadership saw that the COVID patient numbers were declining a few weeks later, the $450 million first phase closed and recleaned to prepare for its scheduled opening last week.
Three floors of the 16-floor project opened to patients – no visitors are allowed due to COVID restrictions – with more floors expected to open in future phases. The 10-year project that includes 408 beds and 13 operating rooms was announced in 2016 with an initial donation of $75 million from Bernie and Billi Marcus through The Marcus Foundation.
Bernie Marcus said on the YouTube virtual tour video, “This is going to be linear, this place where you’ll be able to park and go up to a floor and meet people without getting lost. It’s going to be a blessing but it’s going to be a blessing for the city of Atlanta, for the state of Georgia and for the Southeast.”
In a follow-up message to the AJT, Marcus said that he learned from Dr. Charlie Brown, CEO of Piedmont Physician Enterprise, that “the first surgeries were exceptional. Performance was better than anticipated from the standpoint of the doctors as well as patients. From helicopter landings to operating room preparation, state-of-the-art surgical equipment and patient recovery, results have been extraordinary, and he is proud of Piedmont’s accomplishments.”
Marcus added, “I have been concerned about the health of Georgians for years. Between obesity, heart attack, diabetes, stroke, autism and trauma, I have always wanted to make sure that Georgians have the opportunity to receive effective world-class treatment comparable to any other major city in the United States.
With Piedmont, Emory, Children’s Hospital of Atlanta, Grady and Shepherd, as well as helicopter access to all these institutions, we are achieving this goal.”
After the Marcus family’s initial donation, the hospital pledged to match that contribution and has come within $1 million of its goal, Sidney Kirschner, a major tower donor and chief philanthropic officer for Piedmont Healthcare Foundation, told the AJT.
On the video he credited Marcus’ vision for the project, which is expected to be completed in 2026. “When we first presented the concept to him, he quickly grasped that we needed more than just a heart and vascular hospital. He saw we needed something for the community forever.”
Sitting in front of a donor wall at the Marcus Tower in the video, Kirschner said, “This place is built to last for decades and here today is a sense of pride, when I look around this place, a sense of awe and humbleness when I reflect on the donors names behind me who saw the same vision that Piedmont saw, the need to contribute and support and be part of Piedmont.”
The Marcus Tower, he continued, “will solve today’s problems and tomorrow’s problems. We owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who has supported this.”
In a follow-up AJT interview, Kirschner said of the new tower, “To me it has special meaning.” He said that when he was CEO of the Piedmont Physician Enterprise, he saw doctors’ needs to expand capabilities. “I was one of the early architects” of the project “and I stayed to completion, and even though we are only halfway there, I can visualize the end. … and hopefully my grandchildren will appreciate it.”
The tower design unveiled in the July 20 video pays tribute to the tree-filled city and provides a place of healing, a “canopy of care” by capitalizing on natural art, features and light, according to Dr. Patrick Battey, CEO of the 115-year-old Buckhead hospital. The tower includes outdoor open spaces, sunrooms, vistas, and tree art and designs.
Several parts of the tower are named for large donors from the Jewish community:
The tower and Marcus Heart & Vascular Center, The Lila L. Hertz Surgical Lounge, the Samsky Lobby and Samsky Invasive Cardiovascular Services Center.
Brett Samsky told the AJT his family was “so very excited” about the new tower. “If you look at other hospitals, Piedmont Hospital is cutting edge not just regionwide but nationwide.”
The Samsky Invasive Cardiovascular Services Center is “the next generation for us” in terms of treating the heart, he said. The family also donated to create the lobby. “We thought the tower was so important in Atlanta.” In terms of medical care during COVID-19, the tower means “we have a lot more beds than we did just a few weeks ago,” Samsky said.
“Not only can people be more comfortable in the facility, but we should have better health outcomes, which is the most important part of working with the heart. This is a lasting legacy for Atlanta for a number of years.”
- Roni Robbins
- Marcus Tower
- Piedmont Hospital
- Bernie Marcus
- Billi Marcus
- The Marcus Foundation
- Dr. Charlie Brown
- Piedmont Physician Enterprise
- Children's Hospital of Atlanta
- Emory Hospital
- Grady Hospital
- Shepherd Center
- sidney kirschner
- Piedmont Healthcare Foundation
- Dr. Patrick Battey
- Marcus Heart & Vascular Center
- The Lila L. Hertz Surgical Lounge
- Samsky Invasive Cardiovascular Services Center
- Brett Samsky
- Louise Samsky