Jim Bell + Allen Bell

Father + Son 

“My name is Allen Bell. My first ever job was at Colony Square in the early ’70s, when I was given an assignment by my dad, Jim Bell [J]. My role involved stapling papers in his office on the 23rd floor of Building 100 (now Lord, Aeck & Sargent). It was a Saturday morning gig, I was 4 years old, and I had a great office with a beautiful view. Though, I was not hired again after that; I always remembered that assignment.

[J] Originally, I had one office and two telephones. Being in real estate, I never wanted a customer to encounter a busy signal when calling me. So, I got a switchboard and hired a receptionist that would pick up the phones. I then hired a salesman within a few months, and at that point, I had two offices and two phone lines. Office expansion was only natural after that.

[J] In the 1970’s, Colony Square was Main and Main and an excellent place to be. It was suitable for people who lived inside the perimeter because there were not a lot of people working in Atlanta who would come from way outside the area. When we moved here, Jim Cushman and his original team were on the 24th floor. Bob Holder, who built all of the Colony Square offices, worked on the 23rd floor. I had an office on the northeast side of the building, and I supervised operations from my window while I was on the phone with the construction crew of Colony Square. I knew everyone in the building, and they knew me. Those were good days.

[A] What amazes me is that we are in a world of spaces that have solely been created for people’s everyday use. The individuals who designed these buildings really do care about how their developments improve the quality of life of others and touch people everywhere.

[J] Any words of wisdom to share? Always do the right thing and when the day is done, you can sleep well at night.

[A] For me? Well, I am a big fan of Mr. Rogers. So, I am always thinking to myself, “How can I be the best neighbor?” Looking out for the best interest in people I work with every day, Whether I am inside a parking garage, at the gas station, at the bank, or collaborating with others on a project – everybody is my neighbor, and we owe it to take care of each other.”

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