Piedmont Atlanta Hospital has confirmed an early opening of part of its new tower to handle COVID-19 patients and others.

Three intensive care and acute nursing units on three floors of the Marcus Tower on Buckhead’s Peachtree Road will be available starting April 13, Piedmont Healthcare said in a press release. That will add 132 beds to the hospital’s capacity, including 64 intensive care unit beds.

A conceptual illustration of Piedmont Atlanta Hospital’s new Marcus Tower at Peachtree and Collier Roads. (Special)

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.

The push to open early was backed by Piedmont Healthcare’s “COVID-19 Infrastructure Fund.” Jeff Seaman, the founder of the Rooms To Go furniture chain, donated $1 million to the effort, Piedmont Healthcare previously announced.

A sign outside a Collier Road entrance to Piedmont Atlanta Hospital on March 16 alerts visitors that they must be screened for the coronavirus. (File)

“By opening this part of the tower early, we are increasing capacity at a critical time when our community needs it the most,” said Dr. Patrick Battey, the hospital’s CEO, in a press release. “Getting these beds ready for patients who may need them during the COVID-19 outbreak was the right thing to do, and I am proud of the staff at Piedmont and our partners on the project who made it happen.”

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

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John Ruch

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