The flourishing of Georgia Tech as both an institute of higher learning and a Midtown real estate juggernaut has been an important success story in a city somewhat bereft of them for the past several years. And while the Georgia Tech Foundation has enjoyed the support of Atlanta's historic preservation community in the past for moves like restoring the Academy of Medicine, its battle with the Atlanta Preservation Center over the fate of a historic property in Midtown continues to escalate.
The Crum and Forster building was built in 1928 for the insurance company of the same name and is treasured by preservationists for its Italian Renaissance Revival architecture and the fact that Ed Ivey- the GT School of Architecture's founding student and partner in Ivey & Crook- had a hand in designing it. After the Foundation purchased the building in 2007, it sought to get dispensation from the city to demolish it to make way for surface parking in support of the expanding Technology Square.
Those plans were derailed when preservationists rallied to have the site designated a Landmark by the city (aided in part by the The Georgia Trust placing it on its 'Places in Peril' list in 2009); a zoning adjustment request was also denied. The Georgia Tech Foundation sued, and while that case remains in Fulton Superior Court, the Foundation prevailed upon City Council member Kwanza Hall to introduce legislation de-designating the Crum and Forster building as a Landmark, and are again petitioning the Atlanta Urban Design Commission for a demolition permit.
The Foundation cites financial issues as the reason for seeking to now demolish 2/3 of the building, claiming it's not economically feasible to restore it in its entirety. The chorus of supporters looking to save the building grows, and now includes groups like the Midtown Neighbors Association. With all manner of Atlanta power players directly and indirectly involved, it will be interesting to see how this one turns out.
· Demolition Threat to Crum & Forster [Atlanta Preservation Center]
· Crum & Forster — the fight to save the entire historic building continues [Saporta Report]
· 2009 Places In Peril: Crum & Forster Building [The Georgia Trust]