A temporary reprieve for Engineer’s Bookstore building

By Maria Saporta

For the people who want to save the building that housed the Engineer’s Bookstore, they can celebrate a short-term victory.

The new purchaser of the building has announced plans to tear it down and turn it into a EZ Mart gas station with a food and liquor store.

The City of Atlanta announced Friday that Doug Young, director of the Atlanta Urban Design Commission has nominated the building along with the rest of the historic properties along Means and Marietta streets to be designated as the Means Street Landmark District.

Engineer's Bookstore

The now vacant Engineer’s Bookstore shows how it fits in with Hotel Roxy (Photo by Maria Saporta)

The designation recognizes and allows the City to protect the historic, cultural and architectural significance of the buildings in the area.

“This area has seen significant investment and a landmark designation will allow it to benefit from redevelopment premised on adaptive re-use of former industrial buildings and new structures built on a human scale,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “We have an opportunity here to promote redevelopment focused on neighborhood vitality and walkability, and to honor our city’s rich history.”

The Department of Planning and Urban Development recently denied a demolition permit because the application did not meet all applicable requirements.

According to the City of Atlanta’s Historic Preservation Ordinance, every impacted property owner is being given notice, and the AUDC will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, Aug. 24, at 4 p.m. Opportunity for additional public comment will occur before the Zoning Review Board prior to final City Council consideration and action.

Engineer's Bookstore

A different view of the Engineer’s Bookstore shows how deep the building goes (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Meanwhile, the new owner has applied for a liquor license application for the EZ Mart, and Neighborhood Planning Unit E will consider that request at its Sept. 6 meeting.

Also, a change.org petition to save the Engineer’s Bookstore building has now received more than 2,200 signatures.

Preservationist Kyle Kessler wrote on a Facebook post, that the city’s landmark designation would correspond to the Means Street National Register Historic Register. The nomination request included signatures represents 17 properties within the proposed district boundaries.

Kessler explained that the nomination process should protect the Engineer’s Bookstore building for about four months while the process is carried out to determine whether to designate the district.

During that reprieve, people interested in protecting the building can explore other ways to help save the building.

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.

7 replies
  1. Perry Patrick says:

    What a shame. No sense of history and an EZ Mart is not really going to fit into the immediate character of the area. Can you believe it John Witte, Michael Burns, Jennifer Bell Dragon, Sara Skinner Cole?Report

    Reply
  2. Michael Burns says:

    If I were a student, I’d want the bookstore (if even needed w/ ebooks) on campus closer to where I live. Nostalgia is one thing. Convenience and safety (not having to leave campus, basically) are a whole other ballgame. Given the crime that’s gone on the past few years in the GT / Means Street area, this is a sad necessity.Report

    Reply
  3. Jennifer Bell Dragon says:

    Ok so maybe it doesn’t get to remain a bookstore. Means street was in need of another cool lunch choice. That building is totally hip. Would be a shame to knock it down!Report

    Reply
  4. Burroughston Broch says:

    Seems to make no difference to the enthusiasts. Anything built before they were born seems to automatically become an article of veneration.Report

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

What are your thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.