What's with the small Renaissance Center in Atlanta?
DETROIT – Some watching the Super Bowl on Sunday may wonder, "What's with the small RenCen?" during cinematic aerial shots of Atlanta during commercial breaks.
What you're seeing is the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel -- a 73-story building that ranks as the fourth-tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere -- and the reason why it looks so familiar is because it shares an architect with the third-tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere: the Renaissance Center right here in Detroit.
Both buildings were built by John C. Portman Jr., who has designed many of the buildings that dot the Atlanta skyline.
The Renaissance Center started construction in 1973 and was the first of three hotels that shared similar designs.
The second hotel Portman built, which is arguably more similar to the RenCen, was the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles.
The Westin Bonaventure Hotel started construction in 1974 and is nearly half the size of the RenCen at 33 stories. The elevators claim there are 35 floors, but there are no floors numbered 7 or 13.
This building can be seen during a horse and motorcycle chase sequence in the 1993 action film "True Lies."
Atlanta's Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel started construction in 1976, and unlike the RenCen and the Westin Bonaventure, it is only one single tower, rather than a group of five. When it finished completion, it was the world's tallest hotel, a record that was broken by its Detroit sister building, the RenCen, which was completed in 1977.
The Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel was the tallest building in Atlanta until the completion of 191 Peachtree Tower in 1992.
Portman died in December 2017 at the age of 93 in Atlanta.
The Renaissance Center has been the tallest building in Detroit since its completion in 1977. Its record will be broken when Bedrock's completes its tower on the old Hudson's site.