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.
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.