Urban Design Commission meeting on August 8 could seal the fate of the historic Crum & Forster building

By Maria Saporta

The Atlanta Preservation Center has sent out an “Advocacy Alert” about the historic Crum & Forster building in Midtown.

On Wednesday, Aug. 8 at 4 p.m. in the Atlanta City Council chamber, the Atlanta Urban Design Commission will hear the findings of the Economic Review Panel that determined that saving the entire structure was not an economically-viable alternative.

Click here for a copy of the agenda.

The Georgia Tech Foundation has been trying to demolish the building for more than four years. Its most recent plan is to just preserve the front third of the building.

In order to save the entire structure, at least three-fourths of the UDC board members will have to disagree with the panel’s findings. It also would need to provide a rationale as to why it disagreed with the panel’s finding

The Georgia Tech Foundation has been trying to demolish the building for more than four years. Its most recent plan is to just preserve the front third of the building.

In order to save the entire structure, at least three-fourths of UDC board members would have to disagree with the panel’s findings.

On its website, the Atlanta Preservation Center said that the “threat to this landmark property and the integrity of the city’s preservation ordinance is significant.

The saga over the proposed demolition and effort to preserve the Crum & Forster has been multi-faceted with several legal challenges over the city’s designation of the building as landmark. The Atlanta City Council approved of that designation in a unanimous vote in August 2009, which was signed into law by then Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin a few days later.

The Georgia Tech Foundation then challenged the city’s designation of the Crum & Forster as a landmark in Fulton County Superior Court. That case is still spending.

Meanwhile, the Georgia Tech Foundation submitted an application to demolish two-thirds of the building earlier this year, and that application was heard by the Urban Design Commission on May 9.

The decision was made to assign the case to a three-person Economic Review Panel, which turned in its recommendation in support of the Georgia Tech Foundation in a letter dated on June 21. Click here for previous story.

Now the historic building, which has adorned Spring Street since 1928, may be running out of its nine lives.

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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