The Imperial Hotel has been looking a bit hollow lately, with its current lack of windows revealing a completely gutted interior. Local preservationists take heart, though: The 1910 landmark is not being prepped for demolition. Columbia Residential and National Church Residences — owners of the building since 2011 — are undertaking a massive overhaul of the Imperial that's on schedule for completion later this year.
Everything's being replaced, cleaned, and otherwise upgraded, after which it'll continue to serve as low-income housing for individuals with special needs. How the building came to serve that purpose played out something like a pre-Occupy Atlanta. The Imperial closed as a hotel in 1980 and sat vacant until a decade later when a group of homeless persons and advocates took up residence inside the structure. After weeks of squatting, an agreement was reached with Mayor Maynard Jackson to address the need for more single room occupancy housing in the city. With this latest refreshing, it looks like the Imperial will be meeting a vital need for years to come.
— By Curbed Atlanta contributor Jonathan Carnright.