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.
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.
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.