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  #1  
Old Posted May 19, 2008, 2:42 PM
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Proposed demolition of Midtown landmark by GaTech

Has anyone heard about this?

Apparently, the Georgia Tech foundation has acquired the Crum and Forster building at 771 Spring Street, designed by architects Helme, Corbett & Harrison (NY) and Ivey and Crook (Atlanta), and has requested a demolition permit without any particular plans to replace it with new construction in the short-term.

Admittedly, I have not seen the actual permit, so if anyone has an easy link to it, I'd like to see it.

This is the tri-arched vaguely Italianate brick building immediately south of the GaTech Barnes and Noble in midtown.

I sort of randomly stumbled upon this from the following sites, so I'm not sure if it's well known or not.

Photos: http://surf303.com/crum/
Blog: http://save771spring.blogspot.com/

Edit: Write-up by Maria Saporta in the AJC: http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/bus...orta_0519.html

Last edited by joey; May 19, 2008 at 3:00 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted May 19, 2008, 2:59 PM
sprtsluvr8 sprtsluvr8 is offline
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There is a longer article on AJC.com that details the plans, along with a Midtown church's plans to demolish 3 houses on Juniper that date back to 1905. There are no immediate plans for either to develop the sites, so each site would be sitting empty or with surface parking.

I'm thinking there will be enough opposition so that some other solution will be found. I don't understand why the Crum and Foster building isn't protected as a historic structure?
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  #3  
Old Posted May 19, 2008, 3:03 PM
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The 1926 Crum and Foster Building at 771 Spring Street...ironically designed by Georgia Tech graduates.


http://www.ajc.com/search/content/bu...a_0519_04.html
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Old Posted May 19, 2008, 5:44 PM
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Thanks for the update - that would suck if they are able to tear that building down. One of the few remaining historic office buildings of the early / mid 1900's left and has always stood out in that run down strip of Midtown, populated largely by parking lots.

But what else is new? How many other buildings seemed to be a no-brainer that they should be preserved & demolition permits were handed out anyways? Hate to be a cynic, but I've seen too many historic buildings torn down for marginal construction & parking in my short Atlanta resident span ('90 - '06).

But it's unfortunate that historically the Midtown churches have been notoriously bad preservation citizens. City churches have a lot to blame for many of the vacant lots that populate Midtown, including past churches like First Baptist Church (Bell South only had to tear down the church building for their 4 block campus if I recall b/c 1st Baptist had already torn down everything for surface parking).

But GA Tech? That is simply idiotic that they refuse to accept they could use that building for offices. It's not like they're running out of space in Midtown.
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Old Posted May 19, 2008, 9:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Teshadoh View Post
Thanks for the update - that would suck if they are able to tear that building down. One of the few remaining historic office buildings of the early / mid 1900's left and has always stood out in that run down strip of Midtown, populated largely by parking lots.

But what else is new? How many other buildings seemed to be a no-brainer that they should be preserved & demolition permits were handed out anyways? Hate to be a cynic, but I've seen too many historic buildings torn down for marginal construction & parking in my short Atlanta resident span ('90 - '06).

But it's unfortunate that historically the Midtown churches have been notoriously bad preservation citizens. City churches have a lot to blame for many of the vacant lots that populate Midtown, including past churches like First Baptist Church (Bell South only had to tear down the church building for their 4 block campus if I recall b/c 1st Baptist had already torn down everything for surface parking).

But GA Tech? That is simply idiotic that they refuse to accept they could use that building for offices. It's not like they're running out of space in Midtown.
I hate to differ with you on this, but Atlanta Preservation has helped saved over 175 structures in the city since 1980, and there are actually many early to mid 1900's office buildings in the Downtown/Midtown area. Atlanta has 130 National Register properties, more than 50 landmark buildings and a dozen historic districts which are protected by local ordinance.

The only major demolitions that I'm aware of since 1990 have been: 1.Fulton County Stadium 2.Wachovia at North & Peachtree 3.The cylindrical C&S Bank Building 4.Techwood, Capitol and Grady Homes 5.First Baptist Church 6.Avondale Mall

I'm sure I missed a couple of others...and while I don't know of any historically significant structures that have been demolished since 1990, I do know of dozens that have been restored and/or saved.
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Old Posted May 19, 2008, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Teshadoh View Post
That is simply idiotic that they refuse to accept they could use that building for offices. It's not like they're running out of space in Midtown.
It's hardly as if this some long-abandoned, dilapidated structure either. If I'm not mistaken Crum & Forster was still headquartered there up to the 1970s. Then Swift Currie (one of the city's major law firms) bought it and did a beautiful and tasteful renovation. Even after they outgrew it and relocated I believe they kept it actively leased.
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Old Posted May 19, 2008, 11:16 PM
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sportslover - Certainly a good point, but my memory is mostly of the small scale demolitions of small buildings & homes - I'm not exclusively thinking of major demolitions. Certainly the argument can be made that tearing down the Peachtree blocks between 8th & 9th and I assume currently 10th & 11th & 12th & 13th on the other side can be rightfully argued that it was done for the better good of Atlanta - but you get my point (or maybe not, oh well so is life ).

Still - I still hate that they tore down the apartment building on Piedmont and 11th and I do miss a lot of the old homes (though abandoned) that were still around when I moved in Midtown, as well as the old hospital on Ponce near Piedmont - I would especially be saddened that even today buildings of this caliber would be considered disposable.
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Old Posted May 20, 2008, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Teshadoh View Post
sportslover - Certainly a good point, but my memory is mostly of the small scale demolitions of small buildings & homes - I'm not exclusively thinking of major demolitions. Certainly the argument can be made that tearing down the Peachtree blocks between 8th & 9th and I assume currently 10th & 11th & 12th & 13th on the other side can be rightfully argued that it was done for the better good of Atlanta - but you get my point (or maybe not, oh well so is life ).

Still - I still hate that they tore down the apartment building on Piedmont and 11th and I do miss a lot of the old homes (though abandoned) that were still around when I moved in Midtown, as well as the old hospital on Ponce near Piedmont - I would especially be saddened that even today buildings of this caliber would be considered disposable.
Oh yeah...I remember the old Presbyterian (I think) Hospital building that was demolished. That was one that I wish had been saved...I don't know how old it was or if there was any historic significance associated with it, but it sure was a neat building. There were some apartment buildings as well in the numbered streets near Piedmont Park that were quietly torn down. I know at least a couple of them were not anything worth saving, but there was at least one that I noticed is gone that seemed worthwhile.

I guess my point is that there has been a good bit of preservation in Atlanta, much more than in some other cities. Not that I thought you were one of them, but there are people here that would have us believe there is nothing historic remaining in the entire city - when there is actually a long list of historic buildings and landmarks that have been saved, protected, restored, or reused.

Last edited by sprtsluvr8; May 20, 2008 at 1:56 AM.
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Old Posted May 20, 2008, 3:20 AM
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That was the old Ponce de Leon Infirmary, Atlanta's eye, ear, nose and throat hospital. Pretty cool for Atlanta to have had its own specialty hospital. Man, did that place smell like either!
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Old Posted May 20, 2008, 3:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprtsluvr8 View Post
I guess my point is that there has been a good bit of preservation in Atlanta, much more than in some other cities. Not that I thought you were one of them, but there are people here that would have us believe there is nothing historic remaining in the entire city - when there is actually a long list of historic buildings and landmarks that have been saved, protected, restored, or reused.
I do still think Atlanta is on the extreme that tears down too much (though not as bad as a particular sunbelt city up 85) but there are certainly illogical extremes - BOULDER, CO. Beyond reason would be a good way to describe the preservation movement in that town, farm silos & barns are protected.

What I blame the most is simple economics - so much of Midtown is owned for future development by various investors that it is more profitable to tear a building down, replace it with surface parking & sit on it for a few decades until it's profitable to build a skyscraper. Which leads to a shortage of developable space that is available for purchase which leads to it being cheaper to buy a building the size of the one GA Tech wants to demolish than to buy a parking lot from an investor.
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Old Posted May 20, 2008, 3:49 PM
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Georgia Tech, don't do it! We need to preserve quality period architecture, especially commercial structures.
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Old Posted May 20, 2008, 5:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Teshadoh View Post
I do still think Atlanta is on the extreme that tears down too much (though not as bad as a particular sunbelt city up 85) but there are certainly illogical extremes - BOULDER, CO. Beyond reason would be a good way to describe the preservation movement in that town, farm silos & barns are protected.

What I blame the most is simple economics - so much of Midtown is owned for future development by various investors that it is more profitable to tear a building down, replace it with surface parking & sit on it for a few decades until it's profitable to build a skyscraper. Which leads to a shortage of developable space that is available for purchase which leads to it being cheaper to buy a building the size of the one GA Tech wants to demolish than to buy a parking lot from an investor.

The problem is that you have people (like in another thread) that call us backwards and simple-minded for strictly telling them that the Historic Midtown neighborhood will not be redeveloped. So Atlanta is ridiculous for its historic preservation, yet Atlanta is ridiculous for demolition of any building over 10 years old...it's a no-win situation in some people's eyes.
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Old Posted May 21, 2008, 12:54 AM
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Well, I don't think developers are permitted any longer to tear down buildings and replace them with flat parking lots in Midtown. It's been so long since I looked into it that I can't recall if the restriction is in the zoning or elsewhere.

The quirk, in this case, may be that Georgia Tech is a subdivision of the state and may not be beholden to zoning laws passed by a municipality. If the Foundation really wants something badly enough, it could transfer the property to the Institute, have them knock it down and replace it with a lot, and then have them transfer it back to the Foundation, with the lot an allowable nonconforming use.
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Old Posted May 21, 2008, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by joey View Post
Well, I don't think developers are permitted any longer to tear down buildings and replace them with flat parking lots in Midtown. It's been so long since I looked into it that I can't recall if the restriction is in the zoning or elsewhere.

The quirk, in this case, may be that Georgia Tech is a subdivision of the state and may not be beholden to zoning laws passed by a municipality. If the Foundation really wants something badly enough, it could transfer the property to the Institute, have them knock it down and replace it with a lot, and then have them transfer it back to the Foundation, with the lot an allowable nonconforming use.
I used to work for a lawyer in the white building off of Juniper and 5th. I was so sad the church was going to tear it down to building a parking lot. I thought this would be so bad for Atlanta because this will just more home for the homeless.

Wait, if the homeless call the parking lot home, are they still considered homeless?
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Old Posted May 21, 2008, 2:52 AM
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does anybody know what/where we should express our concerns about this? (Both the GAtech and the church properties). I just dont want to sit by and let this happen...
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Old Posted May 21, 2008, 3:24 AM
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does anybody know what/where we should express our concerns about this? (Both the GAtech and the church properties). I just dont want to sit by and let this happen...
Save the Crum & Forster Building online petition:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/savecrumforster/?e


Saint Mark United Methodist Church:

http://www.stmarkumc.org/about/contact.us.html

Last edited by sprtsluvr8; May 21, 2008 at 4:21 AM.
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Old Posted May 21, 2008, 3:43 AM
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Call the Foundation and tell 'em you ain't giving 'em any more money until they back off!
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Old Posted May 21, 2008, 7:31 AM
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Originally Posted by sprtsluvr8 View Post
Saint Mark United Methodist Church:
I missed this somewhere. What does St. Mark have to do with this? (I'm not challenging anyone, just asking).
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Old Posted May 21, 2008, 7:50 AM
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I missed this somewhere. What does St. Mark have to do with this? (I'm not challenging anyone, just asking).
From the AJC article by Maria Saporta:

Quote:
The three homes proposed for demolition are owned by Saint Mark United Methodist Church. The church recently sold land it used for parking, and it wants to tear down the three houses so it can put a surface parking lot on the site.

At some point — church officials don't know when — the property could be redeveloped to expand its ministry.
Someone asked for information on how to express concern for preserving these properties...I didn't find a petition for the 3 houses, so I posted the contact information for Saint Mark's on their website. Saint Mark's is a wonderful church and is one of the Midtown ministries that openly accepts and welcomes gay membership, so I'm not trying to villianize the church at all. I'm not familiar with the exact houses in question, but since they date back to 1905 then they need to be assessed - not just demolished for parking.
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Old Posted May 21, 2008, 8:42 AM
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Thanks, sprtsluvr. It is a fine church but they don't need to be tearing down historic properties willy-nilly.
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