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Road Atlanta will soon bear Michelin name. First, the control tower had to come down
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The first piece of the Road Atlanta tower is knocked out Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, at the Braselton race track to make way for the new Michelin Tower. Michelin North America owns the naming rights in an agreement starting in 2019. - photo by Scott Rogers

Road Atlanta began demolition on its control tower Monday morning, making room for a new tower that will bear the Michelin name as the tire company takes over naming rights for the racing facility.

In January, Road Atlanta will become Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The 750-acre facility in Braselton announced in October that Michelin North America would get naming rights, expanding on an existing partnership.

With that name change comes some other changes, including the new Michelin Tower, which will replace the old control tower built in 1970.

“A lot has changed since 1970, but this building has not. … It has done great service for us. We’ve loved it,” Geoff Lee, president and general manager of Road Atlanta, said Nov. 5.

The new tower is set to open at the 2019 Motul Petit Le Mans event next fall. The 48,000-square-foot Michelin Tower will have five stories, a rooftop viewing deck, a 300-person event space, 10 hospitality suites and an elevator — a feature that earned some cheers at the demolition event Monday.

Carroll Daniel Construction and Rochester and Associates, both based in Gainesville, were chosen for the project. Lee said Road Atlanta wanted to support the local economy by working with area businesses.

“This building will have not only a huge economic impact over time for the county and the surrounding area because of the business that we’re in, but it’s also helping for the moment because we’re creating jobs,” he said.

Construction is expected to take almost a year. Before Michelin Tower opens, Road Atlanta will relocate some events and operations to other buildings on the property, according to spokeswoman Kelsi Miller.