Phil Bolton for GlobalAtlanta
The offices of France’s consulate general in Atlanta are to be reconfigured to accommodate more personnel and to handle the demand for newly available digital passports, Philippe Ardanaz, the consul general, told GlobalAtlanta last week.
Located at 3475 Piedmont Road in Buckhead, the consulate occupies half of the 18th floor, and its reception area is even more crowded than usual with visitors who are seeking to replace their passports.
“We aren’t going to expand the space, but we have to be more considerate to our neighbors,” Mr. Ardanaz said referring to the offices of the private banking arm of JP Morgan Chase & Co. that occupies the other half of the floor.
Already, the lines for the new “e-passport” that contains an integrated circuit chip that stores the holder’s biographic information and a digital photograph extend out of the reception area.
“And next year there will be new visas with computerized finger prints. We have to do something,” he added.
The consulate is seeking an architect to redesign the space that will provide a larger waiting area while also making room for the expanding staff of its trade commission, which has grown from three to nine people.
Although Atlanta is less known in France than Miami, Mr. Ardanaz said, it is the Atlanta consulate that has been put in charge since May of French trade and commercial activities in Florida.
The trade commission here is now responsible for six other states as well, including Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Mr. Ardanaz said the consulate’s responsibilities also are growing rapidly because it now serves as the gateway for French small- and medium-sized companies that are looking to set up a presence in the United States.
In addition, it provides information and advice to any French service company that wants to have a presence in the U.S.
The cultural and press staffs have each been expanded to three people to handle the upcoming three-year relationship between the High Museum and the Louvre, he said.
Mr. Ardanaz anticipates that the consulate may have a staff of as many as 30 people in the near future.
To learn more about services at the consulate, call Natacha Constable at (404) 495-1660. Architects, who wish to apply for the renovation project, should call Aurelien Maillet at (404) 495-1670.