Developers Propose Preserving Historic Atlanta Building | WABE 90.1 FM

Developers Propose Preserving Historic Atlanta Building

Aug 17, 2017

The historic Atlanta Constitution building downtown at 143 Alabama St. is run-down and has been vacant for more than 40 years.

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But an Invest Atlanta document made public this week shows two developers are proposing to preserve what is one of the city's last remaining "Art Moderne" buildings, an architecture style involving a streamlined, curvy exterior.

A current view of the building. One proposal to Invest Atlanta would restore 143 Alabama St., one the last Art Moderne buildings in the city of Atlanta, to mostly office space with some retail and dining.
Credit Courtesy of the city of Atlanta

Kyle Kessler is the advocacy manager at the Center for Civic Innovation. He’s an architect who lives in downtown Atlanta and said it’s an example of a preservation effort that would also be profitable for the developers.

"The renewed interest in Underground Atlanta and in all the properties in south downtown shows that there's definitely a market for preservation in the city of Atlanta,” Kessler said.

Preservation of the building was initially a requirement for proposals, but the city of Atlanta later removed the requirement.

The combined proposal from Pope & Land and Place Properties includes restoring the building into office space with some retail, dining and parking spots. It would also include an apartment complex with 112 units next door with 30 percent of all new housing on site to be income-restricted for households earning a maximum of 80 percent of the area-median-income for 30 years. The city of Atlanta’s Department of City Planning would also be a tenant in the building.

The restoration of 143 Alabama St. could include a mix of office, retail, dining and housing.
Credit Courtesy of the city of Atlanta

“The redevelopment of the building itself is very, very important since it has been an eyesore for a long time,” Kessler said. “But I think the city’s leadership role and the symbolic role the city’s playing in prioritizing historic preservation, proximity to transit and the inclusion of the city Planning Department in the building bode well for the city of Atlanta.”  

He said architects like him are excited about this proposal especially because it includes retail and dining.

"This building is not going to be a completely privatized office building or a private apartment or hotel,” Kessler said. “The public can once again enjoy the exterior and interior of the building, I think, is important for its preservation."

The building has been vacant since the Atlanta Constitution left in 1953 and Georgia Power vacated the space in the early 1970s.

If the contract is awarded to Pope & Land and Place Properties, the developers estimate construction could begin in June 2018.