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ATLANTA-Lawrence L. Gellerstedt Jr., credited by many with helping to build more commercial real estate projects than any other individual in Atlanta over the past 50 years, has died after an extended illness. He was 77.

Gellerstedt retired as chairman of Beers Construction Co. in 1994 and turned the business over to his son, Lawrence L. Gellerstedt III. Sweden-bash Skanska AB bought the company the same year.

Gellerstedt Jr. joined Beers in 1948 after serving two years in the Navy. He became president of the company in 1960 and bought the firm in 1969. Among headquarter office and commercial projects his firm completed were Coca-Cola Co., the former C&S Bank, Southern Bell, the Georgia Dome and Piedmont Hospital.

Gellerstedt Jr. had a reputation for slicing through financially difficult projects and completing them within budget and on schedule, according to area developers who had worked with him since the 1950s. The Atlanta area chapter of Women in Construction named him Boss of the Year in 1994.

He was cited for his humanitarian and race-relations efforts by numerous local and national organizations, including the Salvation Army, B’nai B’rith and Georgia Tech. He was a trustee of the Woodruff Arts Center; a life member of the High Museum board; and served on Emory University’s management conference board and the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

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