Shutze’s Maddox House on Tuxedo Road to be torn down on Wednesday

By Maria Saporta

Another one is about to bite the dust.

Despite the last minute hopes that owner Dallas Clement would explore options to save the Tuxedo Road house designed by renowned Atlanta architect Phillip Trammel Shutze, historic building is set to be demolished on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

The decision has saddened numerous preservationists, who had hoped a compromise was in the works to keep the most historic portions of the “Maddox House” at 3665 Tuxedo Road and blend it with additions that would include the modern amenities desired by the family.

Tuxedo home

Tuxedo Road house that could be demolished (Photo by Maria Saporta)

“We are deeply disappointed with this decision and, of course, the decision to demolish a historic structure is irreparable,” said Mark McDonald, president of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.

McDonald had worked behind the scenes to try to find an acceptable compromise so the Maddox House could have been saved.

“The Georgia Trust believes that this is a missed opportunity to rehabilitate and transform an Atlanta cultural treasure created by Philip Shutze, one of our most noted architects, into a vibrant modern property,” McDonald continued. “The preservation of the Maddox House would also have provided a service to all Georgians by preserving our cultural heritage for present and future generations.”

Clement, the chief financial officer for Cox Enterprises and vice chairman of the BeltLine Partnership board, had said in the past week that he was exploring ways to save the house.

Clement did not respond to an email sent at 11:24 a.m. or a phone call placed at 4:30 p.m. to explain why he decided to go ahead and demolish the house. If he responds, we will update this story.

Tuxedo home

The front of the Shute-designed house on Tuxedo Road in Buckhead (Photo by Maria Saporta)

For McDonald, the loss of the Maddox House “is further result of the failure of Atlanta public policy toward the preservation of significant historic resources.”

In the 2016 Georgia Trust Places in Peril list, one of the places was identified as “Teardowns in Atlanta’s Historic Neighborhoods.”

McDonald called it “one of the 10 critical preservation issues” facing Georgia.

“The Maddox House is but one of the many historic buildings which are being demolished in neighborhoods on a weekly basis,” McDonald said. “Historic buildings in Ansley Park, Morningside, Virginia Highlands, Buckhead, Old Fourth Ward, Reynoldstown, Midtown and many other neighborhoods are facing significant threats frequently by developers who are buying historically significant small houses and replacing them with large, out of scale, and architecturally incompatible new residential buildings.”

As McDonald sees it, there are solutions “to address this trend of demolition which is having a permanent adverse effect on Atlanta’s historic neighborhoods. Historic zoning should be strongly considered for many of these residential areas. Absent that, simple square footage maximums and setback requirements can act as a disincentive to demolition and would encourage the rehabilitation of these significant, modest sized and environmentally friendly historic houses which populate these historic neighborhoods. Other cities in Georgia have enacted reasonable laws which allow for enlarging historic buildings while preserving their architectural character.”

Tim Keane, the City of Atlanta’s commissioner of planning and community development, was asked to respond to McDonald’s comments. Keane is considered to be a preservationist – having spent much of his career in Charleston, S.C.

Under Keane’s leadership, the city is working on a new master zoning plan for Atlanta, which could include some of the recommendations made by McDonald.

But Keane did not respond to a request for comment as of press time. If he does, we will update this article.

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.

8 replies
  1. BonnieFountain says:

    Its sad that one of the many McMansions available in Buckhead is not good enough for this family so they have to take a piece of history from everyone to build their own.  So long character, hello new money.Report

    Reply
  2. urban gardener says:

    Well, this bodes very well for the historic preservation mandate of the Beltline, one surmises…
    The sheep cloth keeps getting tugged off the wolf, then somehow the ABI public relations people keep tugging it back up
    Affordable housing, preservation, respect for R-4 zoning, public gardens, blah blah blahReport

    Reply
  3. NCJ says:

    It’s disturbing that people with enough money to throw away one house, choose to do so. If you don’t like your house – move and/or build one on a vacant piece of land. There are HUGE, luxury houses being built around Atlanta in some incredibly wealthy areas. WHY destroy a significant building (especially when there is an outcry from preservationists) when you have other options. 

    And hands-down, the comment by urban gardener applies here. This is the same person who is entrusted to preserve history on another project? He needs to be booted from that position, at the very least.Report

    Reply
  4. Sergei Troubetzkoy says:

    Appalling. Why don’t people who want a modern house purchase an empty lot or an insignificant building. A house like this cannot be replaced. This house is magnificent and I bet will be replaced by a second rate house.Report

    Reply
  5. Burroughston Broch says:

    Once again, preservationists wring their hands and then sit on them.
    Pool your money, buy it, and refurbish it to your heart’s content.
    Otherwise don’t presume to tie the owner’s hands.Report

    Reply
  6. PatrickJHamilton says:

    Burroughston Broch Sorry, but that’s not a great response. So preservation should only and always be an issue of the highest bidder? It’s highly possible to mourn the passing of beauty and not have the means, even pooled, to buy yourself another outcome.Report

    Reply

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