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.
“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.
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.