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A win for preservationists in Atlanta

by John Frank

Last Monday, Feb. 7, the Atlanta City Council voted unanimously on legislation to preserve a collection of industrial and commercial buildings near Georgia Tech on the west side of Atlanta. The vote was to secure these buildings as part of a new historic district called the Means Street Landmark District.

It all started with the Atlanta Preservation Alliance and other groups raising concerns about the demolition of the Engineer’s Bookstore on Means Street, an old retail building that was built in the early 20th century and held historical significance as the local 5&10 cent store.

Pending a signature from Mayor Kasim Reed, four other buildings will be put within the confines of the Means Street Landmark District soon.

On the east side of the street, however, there are several brick warehouse facilities that are not included in the Landmark District. This is due to complaints by several property owners, like Derek Aynsely, about the complications with owning a preserved building.

“It is extremely onerous in its denial of pre-existing property right. What can be done to the property into the future and more importantly what cannot be done,” he told Curbed.”I would ask you to justify for me under what sets of standards, either architectural or cultural merit, that building deserves preserving,” he added.

Photo credit: John Phelan (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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