The “King and Queen” towers are the royalty of the Sandy Springs skyline — skyscrapers that have been landmarks for over three decades.

A publicity image of the King and Queen towers as seen from Ga. 400.

The twin skyscrapers with blue, multifaceted sides and unique caps of white steel are part of the 63-acre Concourse office park, which helped to spawn the Perimeter Center area.

Bounded by the I-285/Ga. 400 highway interchange, Hammond Drive and Peachtree-Dunwoody Road, Concourse opened its roughly 2.16 million square feet of office space in phases starting in 1984.

A site map of the Concourse office park as seen on its website.

The complex includes five office buildings along an interior road called Concourse Parkway, as well as the Concourse Athletic Club and the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North Hotel, all centered around a trail-lined pond. A KinderCare child care facility is also on the property.

The Concourse pond with, from left, the Westin hotel, the King tower and the Queen tower. Credit: Rob Knight

The twin skyscrapers are formally known as Concourse Center VI and V, but got nicknamed for chess pieces due to their distinctive caps. The King, on the highway side of the property, has a squared-off top, while the Queen has a rounded top. The caps are frequently lit in various colors to reflect charitable causes or holidays.

A bridge crosses the Concourse pond. Credit: Rob Knight

The skyscrapers were not built at the same time. The 32-story Queen tower came first, in 1988, followed by the 33-story King in 1991. The Queen is the taller of the two, with the real estate data firm Emporis listing its height at 570 feet and the King’s at 553 feet.

A publicity image of the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North Hotel.

The King and Queen are often cited as the tallest suburban skyscrapers in the country, though a definitive list is hard to come by. Regardless, the Concourse Center is certainly a major contributor to Perimeter Center, an “edge city” unto itself that encompasses parts of the cities of Brookhaven and Dunwoody as well and includes several other office and residential towers.

A seating area inside the Concourse center. Credit: Rob Knight

The enormous athletic club, with 85,000 square feet of facilities, is a popular destination for locals. The 372-room Westin hotel, built in 1986, is popular for hosting local events. Diners at the hotel’s restaurant and bar can sit outside and enjoy the semi-public grounds, which include about 2 miles of walking paths around the central pond. For many years, the grounds hosted the City’s Independence Day fireworks and Veterans Day ceremony, but both have since moved to the City Springs civic center.The Concourse Center was sold in 2015 to Building and Land Technology for a reported $500 million.

The Concourse Athletic Club with the King building rising behind it. Credit: Rob Knight

More development may come to the site, which was never fully built out and still has zoning for another four-story office building. In 2016, the owners and manager Regent Partners proposed a $90 million, three-building complex on the Peachtree-Dunwoody frontage with apartments, another hotel, stores and restaurants. The plan got community support but was withdrawn within months, reportedly due to advice from the City that apartments were politically disfavored at the time.

Some of the mid-rise office buildings in the Concourse center. Credit: Rob Knight

Volunteerism has been a big part of Sandy Springs culture since long before it became a city. And in a place with significant income inequality and many people in need, lending a hand means a lot.

The following are some of the most prominent human services nonprofits in Sandy Springs and you can help out or get help. And we’ve mentioned a couple of other popular volunteer opportunities in other fields of service.

Community Assistance Center

Inside the market-style food pantry at the Community Assistance Center’s North End location. Credit: Community Assistance Center

The Community Assistance Center is the city’s biggest nonprofit aimed at preventing hunger and homeless.

Since 1987, CAC has served people in Sandy Springs and the neighboring Dunwoody area with food, clothing, and rent and utility payment help. It also offers youth programs, adult education classes, tax filing assistance, and school supplies for teachers.

CAC’s most prominent facility is at 8607 Roswell Road in the North End, which combines a store-style food pantry with the Upscale Thrift shop, a major source of the organization’s funds. CAC also operates a satellite office with a food pantry in Dunwoody and is in the process of rebuilding a similar facility on Northwood Drive in Sandy Springs’ southern section.

Inside the CAC’s Upscale Thrift store on Roswell Road. Credit: CAC

CAC is also in the midst of an $800,000 capital campaign for headquarters improvements and that satellite office. On the fundraising side, CAC holds an annual gala called the “Vintage Affair,” usually in October.

For more information, see

Sandy Springs Education Force

Students in a drone-flying club aided by the Sandy Springs Education Force. Credit: SSEF

The Sandy Springs Education Force assists economically disadvantaged students in local Fulton County public schools. The assistance is much-needed, as many students from Sandy Springs’ wealthier families attend private schools. As the SSEF website says, “The city of Sandy Springs has been named one of the wealthiest cities in the U.S., yet almost 50% of our public school children are economically disadvantaged.”

SSEF was founded in 1993 under a different name and structure, and had many twists and turns before going dormant in 2004. It revived in 2004 with a funding commitment from the local Couchman-Noble Foundation and has become a local institution.

SSEF provides a variety of supplemental programs in the areas of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics), literacy, after-school, mentoring and tutoring. The programs are aimed at economically disadvantaged students, but open to all, though sometimes for a small fee.

An annual “STEAM Showcase” of student work, usually held in March, is a well-known SSEF program. The “Footprints for the Future” road race, usually held in October or November, is a major fundraiser.

For more information, see

Solidarity Sandy Springs

The front door of the Solidarity Sandy Springs food pantry in the Parkside Shopping Center. Credit: Solidarity Sandy Springs

Solidarity Sandy Springs is the newest addition to the city’s nonprofit scene. It formed in March 2020 as an emergency food pantry for people whose lives were turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic and health chaos. Now it continues that service as well as expanding into other forms of aid.

Solidarity was created by Sandy Springs residents in collaboration with Brookhaven’s Barnes Young Team real estate brokers. It began in a then-shuttered restaurant in a local shopping center. Today, the food pantry operates in the Parkside Shopping Center at 5920 Roswell Road.

This year, Solidarity is operating a “Secret Santa” program to provide gifts to families in need.

For more information, see

Sandy Springs Mission

Students in a new Sandy Springs Mission program at High Point Elementary School. Credit: Sandy Springs Mission

The Sandy Springs Mission provides year-round help to educationally at-risk Latino students in programs with a Christian focus.

Founded in 1999, the Mission was originally focused on serving families before focusing on lowering the drop-out rate for Latino students. It currently serves more than 320 students and their families with a variety of school programs, a summer camp program, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) support and food assistance.

For more information, see

Sandy Springs Society

The Sandy Springs Society’s “Elegant Elf” fundraiser in 2018. Credit: Sandy Springs Society

The Sandy Springs Society is a nonprofit that funds other nonprofits — often including all the ones we’ve mentioned here.

Founded in 1988, the Society is an invitation-only women’s group focused on community service. Over the decades, it has awarded about $5.5 million in grants to nonprofits ranging from arts groups to environmental advocates. In its latest fiscal year, it gave $151,187 to 31 nonprofits through a competitive grant process.

The Society gives an annual “Spirit of Sandy Springs” award, which includes a $1,000 donation to a nonprofit of the honoree’s choice. The 2021 winner was Nicole Nigel Gray, a teacher at Lake Forest Elementary School who started a program to assist students and families in need from the pandemic.

The Society was also behind a 2004 program that erected individually decorated statues of turtles — meant as a kind of city mascot — around town as a public art effort. Many of the turtles remain in locations around town.

The Society holds two major fundraisers each year. “Tossed Out Treasures” is a sale of “gently used upscale items” that includes a private sale and silent auction. It is usually held in February or March, but was canceled for 2021 due to the pandemic. The other fundraiser is the “Elegant Elf” holiday market, usually held in November.

For more information, see

Volunteer for a Better Sandy Springs Day

A scene from the 2020 edition of Volunteer for a Better Sandy Springs Day. Credit: Leadership Sandy Springs

Volunteer for a Better Sandy Springs Day, usually held in April, is a popular way to help out local organizations and efforts, from parks to some of those on this list.

In past years, the program has drawn hundreds of volunteers. During the pandemic, it has been scaled back and focused on outdoor activities, like cleaning and plantings in parks and playgrounds.

The volunteer day is arranged by Leadership Sandy Springs, a tuition-based leadership development program that serves as an entrance into city politics and business organizations.

For more information, see the Leadership website.