Atlanta Urban Design Commission denies demolition permit for Georgia Tech’s Crum & Forster building

By Maria Saporta

The historic Crum & Forster building lives on for another day.

The Atlanta urban Design Commission voted unanimously Wednesday evening to not accept the findings of an Economic Review Panel that had sided with the Georgia Tech Foundation’s application to demolish the rear two-thirds of the building.

The vote of the commission in effect denies the Georgia Tech Foundation from getting a demolition permit for the historic building.

Crum & Froster building

A sympathetic observer who was at the meeting said that after the vote there was a celebration among the community leaders and preservationists who have been fighting for more than four years to save the historic building.

It was quite a victory because it is relatively rare for the commission to deny the findings of an Economic Review Panel. More than three-fourths of the Commission’s board members have to agree in order to overturn a recommendation of the independent three-person panel.

The Georgia Tech Foundation still has a lawsuit against the city for having designated the Crum & Forster building as an historic landmark.

The Crum & Forster building is an elegant three-story building with a Renaissance facade with columns and arches. It was designed in 1926 and opened in 1928 as a regional office for a national insurance firm.

The building was designed by a team of New York and Atlanta architects — Ed Ivey and Lewis Crook, both Georgia Tech graduates. As a student, Ivey actually had led the effort to start an architectural program at Georgia Tech’s engineering school in 1908.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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