The building was little needed by Bell Telephone by 1968 who sold the structure to a bank, The Trust Company of Georgia, who planned to build two skyscrapers. Bell Telephone continued to lease the building. The second skyscraper was never built and the Bell Building was sold by the bank (now SunTrust) to Georgia State University in 2006. Mostly vacant since the 1980's, faded lettering from a Mexican restaurant above the plate glass street-level windows hints at a prior tenant of the front portion of the building. The first restaurant in the space was The Mug and lasted from 1981 into the 1990's. The later restaurant was El Azteca and it closed in 1997. The interior of the vacant building is reportedly in fair but deteriorating condition. Fancy original finishes on the portion of the building that the public would see include marble wainscoting, decorative crown moulding and coffered ceilings. The interior was connected to steam heat and retains radiators in many of the spaces. Some renovations took place for the restaurants with new walls meant to hide the view of the building's central staircase. There is also an electric-powered elevator from the 1920s or so that still worked at last check.
The Atlanta Preservation Center lists the Bell Building as among the most endangered historic buildings in the city. Georgia State University planned to demolish the building as part of a grant-funded project to build a media center at the corner of Edgewood Avenue and Park Place. The plans call for a surface parking lot or green space where the Bell Building now stands. The irony of Georgia State U., which has a graduate program in historic preservation, wanting to demolish an historic building, wasn't lost on the people who started the Save the Bell movement. An online petition against demolition has gathered over 2,500 signatures.
Preservationists have argued that there are plenty of parking decks nearby already. Since the building is state-owned it is outside of the city's purview on demolition. The structure is outside of the King National Historic District. The petition urges the Georgia State U. Foundation to consider adaptive reuse of this building which it has owned since 2007, with its great downtown location along the Atlanta Streetcar line and 68,000 square feet of usable space.