As historic buildings disappear, Atlanta losing its sense of place

By Maria Saporta

Atlanta can be such a disorienting city.

One day a building can be standing on a corner waiting for you like an old friend.

And the next day it’s gone. No warning. Just gone.

That’s what happened to me a few weeks ago when I was driving on Ponce de Leon Avenue going west towards Peachtree Street. A vacant lot at Juniper Street hit me in the face where a familiar building once stood.

The first office building ever designed by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei had vanished — just like that. Once again, Atlanta had erased an important part of its physical history with barely a whimper.

I.M. Pei's Gulf Oil Building (Photo by Thomas Little)

I.M. Pei’s Gulf Oil Building (Photo by Thomas Little)

The two-story modern-style structure was built in 1951 as the Gulf Oil Building. Over the years, there had been talk that developers wanted to build on that block. But almost always they would talk about keeping at least part of the Pei building as part of their development.

Mark McDonald, president and CEO of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, first became concerned in mid February when he noticed unusual work occurring on the site.

“The removal of the marble panels from under the windows substantially changes the character of this building and diminishes its significance because it alters the design of one of the world’s greatest living architects,” McDonald wrote in an email to his members. “It is disappointing that the building has not been landmarked by the City of Atlanta and due to this inaction, it has no legal protection against partial or full demolition.”

I.M. Pei building shortly before being demolished (Georgia Trust)

I.M. Pei building shortly before being demolished (Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation)

Within a couple of weeks, the whole building had been leveled. An apartment development is now under construction on the block, and yet the owner of the site destroyed the very thing that had made the property valuable — a priceless, irreplaceable work of architecture.

For more pictures on the I.M. Pei Gulf Oil Building demolition, please click here.

It’s enough to drive you crazy if you’re from Atlanta. Block after block is filled with ghosts of buildings past. Your mind begins to play tricks on you as you try to remember a piece of history that’s been replaced by a surface parking lot waiting for that next wave of frenzied development.

McDonald observed that it’s been a hard winter for historic buildings in Atlanta. In December, the McCord Apartments on Seventh Street near Peachtree Street — designed by famous Atlanta architect Neel Reid in 1923 — were demolished. For pictures on the McCord demolition, please click here.

Neel Reid's McCord Apartments - 1923 (Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation)

Neel Reid’s McCord Apartments – 1923 (Photo by Terry Kearns)

Preservationists lost a multi-year legal battle with the Georgia Tech Foundation to preserve most if not all of the historic Crum & Forster building.

And although preservationists were able to prevent the demolition of the Atlanta Daily World building on Auburn Avenue, until it has been given new life — an economically sustainable renovation and reuse — it’s too early to celebrate.

In short, Atlanta does a pitiful job in protecting and preserving its most historic buildings. And it shows. Too often the city looks and feels disposable, temporary, dispersed and incomplete.

Back in 1991, I.M. Pei made a similar observation when he came for the opening of Wildwood Plaza, an office building he had designed for Cousins Properties in Cobb County.

At the time, Pei observed that one of Atlanta’s weaknesses was its decentralization.

“The great cities are not to be seen upon perimeter roads,” Pei said. “Usually, before you expand to the perimeter, you should have a substantial core. Your core must be healthy.”

Pei went on to say: “There’s still a lot of property downtown that could be developed. That may reflect some political and social problems you have. Perhaps the core of Atlanta will be the next project for this city to concentrate on.”

Last week, a fascinating exchange took place between Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, a highly-respected hands-on executive who took immense pride in the way his city looked.

In recent trips to Chicago, Reed was impressed.

“The city is so clean,” Reed told Daley listing off several items he liked about Chicago. “The quality of buildings that are there. People are always outside. You can feel the city’s confidence. How did he (Daley) influence the kind of buildings that are built in his city — the private sector buildings. You see that on Chicago’s skyline. The job that’s been done in that city is special.”

What Chicago has done for decades is respect its built environment — it has honored its architects and architecture; it has made its sidewalks desirable places for people with wide vistas adorned with flowers, trees, plantings and art; it has paid attention to design and detail — welcoming the new without obliterating the past.

Although Daley clearly enjoyed hearing nice comments about his town, he graciously complimented Atlanta.

“We are not competing with one another,” Daley said. “This is one of the greatest cities in the world. This city is moving forward. It’s willing to take risks. You keep working at your vision.”

A good place to work on that vision is by placing much greater importance on our sense of place — providing lasting landmarks that will define our city for decades to come.

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.

57 replies
  1. dejah thoris says:

    Atlanta is just sad. It has no heart or core. I tried to take my mother downtown to show her some sights and ended up embarassed because of all the panhandlers. I would move in a heartbeat if jobs didn’t hold us here. There is nothing much to do here. A few museums and you are done.Report

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  2. Kirk Angell says:

    I moved here about 20 years ago from Pittsburgh. Atlanta then was a city as full of historic beauty as it was of bustling new construction. Now , most of the landmarks that brought some authenticity to the city are gone. There’s no soul to this city. Tear it down, build some garish new building that will be dated and abandoned within a decade. It’s sad. Now, I love going back to visit Pittsburgh. The beautiful old gothic architecture is still easy to find, and the newer gentrified areas have built wonderful new buildings without tearing the older ones all down. I still love Atlanta, but it’s going to swallow itself whole with it’s greed for constant expansion and construction. Nothing here needs to be any bigger than it already is.Report

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  3. Angela Hale says:

    But why is the art in Atlanta relegated to museums. Sure, one becomes habituated to the city in which one lives, regardless of its intrinsic charms. But I’ve felt more and more in recent years a shock upon returning to Atlanta after visiting other cities, be they Savannah or Seattle. Our city does not measure up architecturally nor by holding art and aesthetics as a value. Seattle requires that every construction project designate 1% of the total construction budget to art. Why can’t we do something similar. As you suggest, Maria, more and more Atlanta is becoming just another indistinct concrete jungle.Report

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  4. SB says:

    Sorry Dejah, you need to learn more about Atlanta, particularly if you’re taking your visitors downtown to “see the sights” and then give up after that. And this coming from a person who just spent 2 hours yesterday touring downtown’s underground/gulch/former rail yards for the fun of it.Report

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  5. joey says:

    They had to take down the building and rebuild. The facade will be saved. In all of the renderings the original facade is present. The company just said a couple of weeks ago that they are still saving it. So unless they changed their minds after they tore it down we don’t have anything to worry about.Report

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  6. Tyler Blazer says:

    A portion of the I.M. Pei building is to be reconstructed as part of the development. While not exactly preservation it does still elude to what once stood there – which is why care was given to reuse the original facade materials. This will serve as the amenity portion of the apartments- which required a heavy structural overhaul and this the building had to come down. I do agree I think a more proper use/ renovation could have been done, and it seems the city is too complacent to allow destruction of such properties via the use of “facadism” – which serves as a cheap way of preservation instead of true adaptive reuse of the structure.Report

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    • Mrs. Miller says:

      I wonder is Ms. Saporta knew this, yet intentionally made no mention or is just didn’t “fact check”, which is becoming far too common in journalism today. While the entire building is not being “preserved” this approach respects and acknowledges the value of the historical building, which obviously was not functional. Atlanta previously seemed to be only reactive to historical preservation. No one was paying attention, a truly valuable building is demolished, then there was mass hysteria over a fifty year old outhouse being torn down.
      Regardless, Ms. Saporta should follow up with a clarification.Report

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  7. bill says:

    This has been the norm since Andrew Young and Maynard Jackson were in Office…I recall Maynard Jackson calling the home that Margret Mitchell grew up in a “hunk of junk”..between these 2 mayors, more historic buildings were lost since the civil war. for example, we almost lost the fox theater, amongst others…I think they see past progress as “white” achievement, and want to erase all trace of it. I also see all of the streets downtown being renamed after black folks, both living and dead…Makes it hard to just navigate the city, as every time I try to give someone directions, the street name has been changedReport

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    • BPJ says:

      Actually, it was Mayor Young who used the phrase “hunk of junk” and he was speaking of the building (sometimes called “the castle” on 15th Street across from the Woodruff Arts Center). And I think Jackson actually supported the Mitchell House.

      It’s true that Young and Jackson didn’t make historic preservation a priority. But I don’t believe that Hartsfield and Allen did either.Report

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      • Jeff says:

        Yes, Jackson did support the Mitchell House. He also supported the ’82 rehab of the Cyclorama. He opposed the destruction of neighborhoods that would’ve occurred if 485 had been built. Jackson was one of those rare politicians who favored preservation and truly supported the arts.Report

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      • Thomas Watson says:

        I used to live in the Castle back in the early ’70’s….I rented one of two actual apartments in the building. Mine was at the very top where the turret is, and the other was on the first floor and a Mrs. Nygaard lived there. She was the sister to Mrs. Butler who owned the building.

        It’s an unusual building, but I would certainly take exception with Andy Young that it’s a hunk of junk. It’s somewhat fanciful actually and was designed and built by the man who promoted the Cotton States Exposition that created Piedmont Park.

        Having been born in Atlanta, I no longer live there, but still have some affection for the town and have always grieved for the history that has been destroyed there. It’s been about a year since I was there and at that time the Castle was still standing, but empty. I corresponded with a real estate developer who told me that it was empty because no one wanted to buy it– even at a discounted price. While it may be a bit of a white elephant, it’s certainly a piece of history that needs to be preserved.Report

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  8. BPJ says:

    I agree with Ms. Saporta’s editorial. I too was appalled to see the I.M. Pei building and the McCord Apartments demolished, and I’m disappointed that a state university that teaches architecture can’t get its act together to fully renovate the Crum & Forster building.

    However, the first two comments are over the top. Over the past 20 years, the city has markedly improved, and indeed has begun to feel more like a real city than it did in the 1980s. New parks, sidewalk projects, and yes, adaptive renovations of historic buildings have made the city more pedestrian friendly and more attractive than it once was. Think of the long-empty Winecoff building, the Bona-Allen, and the many loft buildings. The area of Peachtree between 3rd and 10th used to be truly derelict, dominated by panhandlers, and utterly unwelcoming – quite a contrast now.

    I agree that we need to hold politicians’ feet to the fire on preservation issues in the upcoming city elections. And we do need to harshly criticize dumb, destructive decisions. But in discussing where this city is and where it’s going, we also need to recognize and praise the things we’re getting right. The stuff about “no heart or soul, nothing much to do here” is a bunch of nonsense which doesn’t do this city justice.

    Now let’s tell Mayor Reed that he has a lot to learn from Mayor Daley.Report

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    • Mrs. Miller says:

      How is it that a School of Architecture is responsible for “renovating” (I think you probably meant restoration). the Crum and Foster building? I assure you there are qualified professors (I can name two and I graduated in 1993) who would be eager to consult. I also know architects who specialize in historical preservation. Who owns the building, who will pay for the restoration?Report

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  9. jaimlb says:

    What makes the loss of historic buildings in Atlanta even more difficult to bear is that they are often replaced by cheap, faceless steel-and-glass monstrosities with giant parking-deck pedestals. Or those aluminum/multi-color 4/5-story apartment buildings that look like every other apartment building built in the country over the past 10 years. Booooorrrrrinng.

    One of the only interesting things to do in Midtown/Downtown anymore is walk around among all the high-rises and parking lots and look for signs of old houses and buildings – old concrete steps, stone walls that lined back yards, even a boarded up house here and there, the occassional concrete bus stop marker – and imagine what Atlanta once was…Report

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  10. MB says:

    I own the “Atlanta Then and Now” book that details the buildings, architecture and history of Atlanta. I’m a native of Atlanta (35+ years) and it has always been of immense interest to me to know “when was that building built, and for what”. The oldest wall still standing is in the old Dante’s Down the Hatch in underground. It was built before the civil war. I’ve touched it.

    If developers want to implode the old AT&T gross buildings in-town, I’m sure they wouldn’t have many opponents. As well as the Melia hotel that was given a “reface”. I’m sure we wouldn’t have missed that ugly eyesore, either. It doesn’t surprise me that everyone thinks “new/shiny” will bring people into the city. Hardly.

    Until Atlanta controls the panhandling, crime by street thugs (I have unfortunately been victim to this prior to moving away), carjackings, and overall bad energy you get just by driving down the street-it will have no true good energy or “core” of a real city.

    Couple that with poor public education options and expensive private options-and I’m glad we moved away. We’ve also had several friends relocate elsewhere in the past 2-3 years for similar disgruntled feelings of “it’s never going to get better here”.

    Lots of architecture where we live now that’s been preserved and restored. People walking at all hours enjoying themselves, etc. Lower crime, and some of the top public schools in the country. Things that Atlanta has a long way to go on.Report

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  11. Elisabeth Holmes says:

    This article resonates with me. I’m a born and raised Parisian who moved in Atlanta 6 years ago so I know what the “core” of a city looks like. I also know that a city’s soul is made in big part of its architectural landmarks.

    Since I first arrived here, I felt that Sweet Auburn was the only part of this city that still had a soul. It had something of that blue collar Paris where I spent my life until I moved here. Everybody looked at me strangely. I didn’t understand the social, economical and cultural dynamics of the city at that time. Now I do, at least a little more. And you know what? After this time here, my husband and I want to move from Northern suburbia to somewhere in the core of the city. I’m secretly hoping it will be close to Sweet Auburn… Let’s hope Atlanta doesn’t turn Sweet Auburn and the nearby streets into a new, unsoulful area by then.Report

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  12. [email protected] says:

    Those that attempt to understand Atlanta by comparison to traditional cities will always be disappointed– and will always miss the point– more like Dallas or (gulp) even Los Angeles Atlanta is new and dynamic. We could and should do a better job with preservation, of course, including those mid-century structures now threatened (like the Pei building). And true Atlanta is not an easy city to grasp– It doesn’t offer the instant historic sense of place that traditional cities provide– but it does have character– its youthful and dynamic with a thriving arts scene– I will take this messy vitality any day over the small historic charms of Boston or Savannah or Charleston, Little 5 Points over Broad street. Here’s hoping for better architecture, to be sure– but the bold and dynamic and the new– this is the spirit of this city– one that is anything but the tired Disney Dreams of its detractors.Report

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    • Latherine says:

      Everything built in Atlanta is built with the intention of being replaced within 50 years. What’s dynamic about that? A city full of cheaply built structures- houses included- is a city of waste. Let’s not even try to be green.Report

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    • Mrs. Miller says:

      Excellent point. After “surviving” the Grant Park Historical designation, I understand what you mean. The extremists were trying to push regulations through that were as stringent and inane as Disney’s “Celebration”
      HOA regulations.Report

      Reply
  13. Ddurgin says:

    dhamilton: I would like to think it is true that Atlanta is new and dynamic, but the new architecture is half-baked, mediocre and more Disneyfied (see all the 80’s skyscrapers with their funny tops). We couldn’t even get a Calatrava highway bridge built like they have in Boston, or a symphony hall that competes with Disney Hall in LA. That is the Disney dream I want, even
    if I can’t have the old buildings all preserved.Report

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  14. Julie says:

    It does not bode well for the city of Atlanta’s architecture when a city councilman – Kwanza Hall – introduces legislation to de-landmark historical property, as he did with the Crum & Forster building. It is apparent to many that Hall has his eye on the Mayor’s office in the future. With leadership like his, Atlanta stands to lose what is left of our historical architecture.Report

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  15. Steve Wise says:

    If you’d like to see some excellent shots of Atlanta then and now, go to atlantatimemachine.com — and for some interesting commentary, go to Atlanta Time Machine’s Facebook page.Report

    Reply
  16. Latherine says:

    NOTHING is sacred in this town. No respect, no longevity. The apartments will be built with the intention of tearing them down 30-50 years from now… if it was a something more expensive being built, like a stadium let’s say, it would last about 25 years. WASTE.Report

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  17. David McQueen says:

    Face it, while I.M.Pei is a great architect – this was not a memorable building. There have been many memorable buildings torn down in cities over the years (Wright’s Tokyo Hotel; Penn Stn in NYC – these were great piece of beauty), but the Ponce building was singularly uninteresting. The reality is that Atlanta really needs to increase its central city density and that should take precedent at this time while the city is still growing.Report

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    • Peaton says:

      Agree. The Mcord apartments seem like more of a loss. But really its going to be hard to preserve anything if every new building has as much parking deck space as interior space.Report

      Reply
  18. Patrick says:

    The Gulf Oil building wasnt very nice, had a poor street level interaction and did not fit the density needs for this part of the city. Regardless, its being salvaged to a degree. Sure, there are examples where this city has done a terrible job of savings historic buildings in the past, but this wasnt one of them.

    The reality is that midtown has never been an urban place in the past. Most of the previous architecture was poor and was not built for the type of density that the city now requires. A major problem for Atlanta is that it is going through its growing pains now, right in front of our eyes, while a city like Paris, NYC or London (even Pittsburgh) have had 100 plus years (almost 2000 for London) to do it. This was a city not much larger than Nashville within the last 30 years and look at where it is now. If you are complaining about the fabric of this city, you are complaining about yourself, because we are, IMO, currently in the defining age for this city. If you have an idea of how we can all do things better, get off the comment section and get involved. People just doing that, stop the constant talking about where they used to live and being visible in the city will go a long way.Report

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  19. Leisa says:

    I found out just before I moved to Atlanta in 2007 that my great grandmother lived where Piedmont Park now stands- and gave birth to my grandfather there. However, I grew up in Canada. I do find Atlanta to be a little soulless in its lack of historic preservation. There needs to be a cohesive vision built upon respect for the past and an embracing of the future. The point about Chicago is a good one; for me Toronto has that same feeling. You can walk the main core of the city for miles and get just about anything you want- culture, hip shopping, main stream shopping, parks, Chinatown, Kensington Market, great historic architecture and modern influences, among much else. There is no vision here… I hope that changes.Report

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  20. D W says:

    From discussions with people in the know about this, the developer of the apartments on Peachtree decided it was far better to pay a $500K fine than to pay the $2MIL to file with the city to tear down a historic building. This corporation did this intentionally and noone has said anything about it or caused any backlash from our citizens. Im sure someone from the preservation society of Atlanta reaped some profit for allowing this to happen with only a slap on the hand.Report

    Reply
    • Mrs. Miller says:

      That is quite an accusation. Did these people “in the know” tell you anything about the developer preserving the facade and rebuilding it? Did they pay the 500K fine in addition to the cost of preserving the facade?Report

      Reply
  21. Bill Balzer says:

    March 9 – March 24, 2013 the Decennial Phoenix Flies presented by Preserve Atlanta offered tours of 70 historic places in Atlanta. The #1 was All Saints’ Episcopal church grounds a 1906 Victorian Gothic sanctuary and # 70 was the Wren’s Nest the home of the 19th century author, journalist and folklorist, Joel Chandler Harris.

    Other stops on the tour was Theatrical Outfit at Herren’s 84 Luckie Street, Atlanta. Before it closed as a restaurant it was the first restaurant to voluntarily integrate.

    Many citizens and groups have chosen to save historic venues, it may be people just don’t know about them or worse don’t take the time to look so I suggest http://www.PreserveAtlanta.com. Research the various tabs and maybe try one of the walking tours.Report

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  22. urban gardener says:

    The value of old architecture is it keeps newer architecture more vibrant; the juxtaposition helps both along greatly.
    And for those of you saying those of us who bemoan the loss of interesting old architecture should get off our butts and do something – some of us are. We build new buildings that play off the old, fitting in whilst looking distinctive, adding new life to abandoned wasteland lots and structures.
    But you knew that already, because you’re building new buildings and jumpstarting new independent businesses and paying new sets of outrageous city taxes as well, huh?
    For the rest of you, for old done over well, check out the new restaurant in the old quansut (sp) hut in Grant Park just off Memorial…Report

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  23. esa says:

    I’m a fan of Modernist architecture and was thrilled to learn that the modest building at the corner of Juniper and Ponce was an IM Pei design. However, when it was built it was less an exercise in architecture than cost-cutting. I believe the cost per square foot when it was built was around $15 which was a paltry amount even then.

    So I’m concerned it was demolished but not too concerned. What concerns me more is that some piece of junk will probably be built in its place that, unlike Pei’s design, will be an eyesore in ten or twelve years.

    Happily, decent architecture has been finding its way to Atlanta. There’s just not enough of it.Report

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  24. Eleanor Ringel Cater says:

    okay, I’m on staff, but that doesn’t mean i can’t comment. It’s not only how “valuable” the building is or was, but the fact that Atlanta eats its old. Always. With relish. And a not-so-nice Chianti.Report

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  25. Dave Bass says:

    Absolutely ridiculous. I lived in this neighborhood and witnessed stuff like this a number of times. The problem is a governmental infrastructure that has insulated itself from democracy, and a population that doesn’t care. Mix the two and it’s open hunting in the Wild West.Report

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  26. Josh says:

    It wasn’t even that old of a building, nor did it significantly impact the community around it. Why are you complaining about some outdated building from the 1950s? This isn’t exactly some abandoned brick warehouse built in the 1800s.Report

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  27. Native Atlantian says:

    The fact that developers tear down buildings and build new ones is what developers do as they want to make money. Just like any business they are there to make money and not preserve old buildings (unless they can make money). Preservation is done by foundations, historical preservation groups and societies, etc. The people sold this piece of property to make money. The buyers bought the property to make money. Keeping the old tired building that was 50% vacant would not make the buyer any money. If people want to preserve old buildings they can buy them. For example: the Fox Theater was “saved” in the late 70’s as people raised money and bought building. While I agree that it would have been a tragedy to demolish the Fox it was saved and remains an icon here in Atlanta. I suggest that people here should start saving money and buy the remaining old buildings. The fact that Atlanta sucks or is bad because there are no old buildings is simply a myth. People love Atlanta not for its museums but for the business climate, restaurants, youth, people, cost of living, trees, proximity to beaches, mountains, etc. People hate downtown because of the crime, panhandlers, bums, lack of safety …… People like Midtown and Buckhead for the opposite reasons.Report

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  28. Lou says:

    I think Atlanta misses opportunities to brand itself with beautiful architecture all the time. But it is not just private interests that miss it. ATL squandered an opportunity to create a St. Louis Arch or Seattle Needle when it approved that hideous erector set steel thing in honor of the 100th Olympic Games. What did we show the world? No style, grace or sense of the future admiration of the legacy we could have shown 100 years from now. Disposable domes, cheap construction and no pride reflect the city leaders thinking. Nothing can do more to brand a city than legacy architecture. Thankfully there are some who do not sacrifice looks for the highest possible profit. Another chance was traded away when the Atlantic Station bridge could have been used to create an iconic symbol with a suspension look and embedded Atlanta logo. But no, the DOT dashed that hope. Until leaders embrace looks as a solution to attracting the right people they will continue to miss the essence of what a great city is.Report

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  29. DH-ATL says:

    Just to clarify– I am certainly not advocating against historic preservation– We need to preserve the few wonderful historic buildings (and environments) that we have. My argument is that Atlanta is not like Boston or even Chicago– big cities that grew up substantially in the 1800s– but more like LA, Dallas or Houston– We should be pushing the limits of new architecture, not lamenting what we don’t (or no longer) have. Much of this is purely a matter of the private market and that appears to be getting a bit better (Enlightened developers realize that they are selling the city just as much as they are selling their buildings– It pays to make Atlanta a great place to be in the long run). The city and Atlanta’s cultural institutions also need to step up to the plate– The High’s Renzo Piano/ Richard Meier buildings being an excellent example of what the city needs a LOT more of–Report

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  30. Phil says:

    It does not matter what buildings they save downtown. Downtown Atlanta is a crappy place at best. You have to be insane to want to live downtown. Too many thugs. Too many panhandlers. It will never change. The electorate won’t allow it to ever change for the better. As far as Chicago goes, pretty city. And even more deadly than Atlanta. They have many things on common.Report

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  31. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    @ Phil, March 29, 2013 at 12:00 am-

    You’re right that Downtown Atlanta has numerous issues, including a poor quality-of-life, at present.

    But, with a continuing committment to improve the quality-of-life, the Downtown Atlanta neighborhood will eventually turnaround and become a much-more desirable place to live, work and play.

    Granted, Downtown Atlanta won’t become a highly-desirable place to be overnight as there are A LOT of issues to work through which will require the improvement of the neighborhood and the district to be a very-slow and gradual year-by-year process.

    But with such nearby areas such as Castleberry Hill and Sweet Auburn in the early stages of a comeback and with Georgia State University increasing in physical size and enrollment, the area will improve, turnaround and eventually become one of the city’s premier addresses as the once-blighted Midtown, West Midtown and Castleberry Hill districts have before it.

    But everyone needs to keep-in-mind that the pending turnaround of Downtown (particularly South Downtown) is going to be a slow, tough and challenging process that, in the end, will be well worth the effort is going to be required to eventually make the area into one of the city’s most-desirable addresses.Report

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  32. Bett Williams says:

    Our established residential neighborhoods that go to the trouble of obtaining Atlanta Urban Design Commission recognition are helping bring young people back to the City so they can live where the lively arts are and enjoy the ease of a reverse commute to work in the ‘burbs. I second the motion of Bill Balzer to look up http://www.PreserveAtlanta.comReport

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  33. Jose Abril says:

    Well, as time goes, old buildings will not remain as it is and they will try to reconstruct or build a new one because we’re living in a modern world now.

    Visit link: http://www.jamcoproperties.com/page/36/Move-In-Specials!Report

    Reply
  34. PeterMullaney says:

    @Native Atlantian You’ve hit the nail on the head. While there can be some improvement in saving nice buildings, the fact is that people like Atlanta and live/remain here because they like the business climate and the acquisitive suburban culture. In my opinion people who value such things over beauty are fundamentally stupid people, but my opinion is not necessarily the correct one. There are plenty of beautiful cities in America, with different lifestyles than Atlanta offers, and people who want to live in those places can do so. In a sense Atlantans may be doing right by themselves in embracing the disposable city ethic, because Atlanta will never be able to compete with places like Chicago/New Orleans/Boston/etc. on those cities’ terms. Atlanta is what it is, and there is wisdom in being willing to settle for that.Report

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  35. PeterMullaney says:

    @Josh The building was designed by I.M. Pei, and is therefore assumed to have been important. But it had no historic or aesthetic qualities to speak of. The only real problem with this particular demo is that what replaced it is just as awful.Report

    Reply

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