Historic Crum & Forster building wins another round

By Maria Saporta

The city of Atlanta continues to do what it can to save the Crum & Forster building at 771 Spring St. in Midtown.

On Monday, in a 14-0 vote, the Atlanta City Council voted to give the building a Landmark designation, which would give it greater protection from being demolished.

“This is wonderful,” said Laura DePree, an architect whose grandfather — Lewis Crook — was one of the original designers of the building. “It was just really good that the City Council chose to do the right thing. I understand that the mayor still needs to sign off on it.”

Preservationists and urban advocates have made the saving of the Crum & Forster building a cause celebre as soon as they learned that the Georgia Tech Foundation had filed for a demolition permit for the building that was designed in 1926 and built between 1927 and 1928.

Georgia Tech has said it wanted the right to tear down the building for a possible expansion of its award-winning Midtown campus.

But preservationists have argued that the building is part of Midtown’s history. It was designed by the New York architectural firm Helmie, Corbett & Harrison and the Atlanta firm of Ivey & Crook, who attended Georgia Tech. Preservationists believe that the Crum & Forster building belongs in the historic urban tapestry of Midtown.

Apparently, the Atlanta City Council agreed. The Zoning Committee on July 29 unanimously approved a unanimous decision that the Zoning Review Board to give the Crum & Forster building a landmark designation.

“At least one process is finished with a good outcome,” DePree said.

Meanwhile, Georgia Tech has said it will continue to appeal the city’s denial of its demolition permit. Preservationists also believe that Georgia Tech will fight the landmark designation.

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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