Buckhead’s Piedmont Atlanta Hospital is pushing to open its new Peachtree Road tower months early to treat COVID-19 patients and others, and has received a $1 million gift for the effort.

The $450 million, 16-floor tower, built to house the new Marcus Heart and Vascular Center and other facilities, was scheduled to open its first phase on Aug. 1. Piedmont Healthcare said in a press release that it received a certificate of occupancy for the tower on March 1 and is pushing to open it sooner.

A conceptual illustration of Piedmont Atlanta Hospital’s new tower at Peachtree and Collier Roads.

Piedmont is not releasing all of the details of the possible early opening yet, said spokesperson John Manasso, “but the idea is that [the tower] will have a mix of both COVID and non-COVID patients.”

On April 6, Piedmont announced a $1 million gift from Jeff Seaman, the founder, president and CEO of the furniture store chain Rooms to Go, that is backing its “COVID-19 Infrastructure Fund” to open the tower early.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have generous donors like Jeff Seaman at this critical time,” said Sid Kirschner, Piedmont’s chief philanthropy officer, in the press release. “We are working very hard to take care of our patients in the new reality of a world left vulnerable by the COVID-19 pandemic. Gifts like Jeff’s to our COVID-19 Infrastructure Fund will literally save lives.”

Piedmont is working on equipment and furnishing for the first nursing unit in the new tower, the press release said.

Piedmont is preparing for various COVID-19 scenarios using “statistical projects from four to 12 weeks out,” the press release said. “Early activation of the tower is a vital element of this plan.”

Piedmont Healthcare operates 11 metro area hospitals, with Piedmont Atlanta at 1968 Peachtree Road as its flagship.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.