Founders Tower Bought

Stacy Martin Published: January 10, 1996
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A rapidly growing "Christian long distance company" has added a landmark office building to its holdings with the $3.3 million purchase of Founders Tower.

An AmeriVision subsidiary, Hebron Corp., bought the tower, 5900 Mosteller Drive, from Gainesville, Fla.-based Growth Fund International. Growth Fund bought it at 55 percent occupancy in 1989 and invested about $1.5 million turning the outdated structure around.

AmeriVision is a 5-year-old nationwide reseller of long-distance services, which it buys from Tulsa-based WilTel. It is marketed under the name LifeLine.

The 20-story, 200,000-square-foot tower was originally built in 1964 by United Founders Life Insurance Co., a local company whose assets were later acquired by Protective Life Insurance Corp., Birmingham, Ala.

Because of its unusual, 10-sided design, Founders has become something of a local landmark.

It is now about 90 percent occupied, said Carl Thompson, senior vice president for AmeriVision.

AmeriVision has also been told it is the successful bidder for the long-vacant Continental Theater from Resolution Trust Corp. The property will be remodeled as a customer service center, Thompson said.

The acquisitions were made possible by AmeriVision's growth. In the past 30 months, it has grown from $178,000 monthly to $8 million monthly in gross billings. At the same time, it has increased from 25 to 300 employees. It currently serves a half-million customers and is signing up 50,000 new ones monthly, Thompson said.

The long-distance company supports what it describes as "biblical family values," management has said.

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