A valuable corner lot in the Old Fourth Ward is stirring age-old Atlanta debates: Should historical significance be bulldozed for fresh development and the promise of new residents in a burgeoning area? Or should old structures be preserved no matter what — even if the cost of doing so would turn developers away? Today, we put the question to you, Atlanta, in the form of a poll.
The 1.5-acre property in question constitutes the southeast corner of Glen Iris Drive and Ralph McGill Boulevard, a short walk to the Beltline and attractions like the original Highland Bakery and, soon, Ponce City Market. Longtime suburban builder John Weiland, who has turned his focus intown lately, wants to raze all existing buildings to erect 24 or 28 townhomes (reports vary). Plans are preliminary, but they indicate the three-story homes would be brick, like their 1929 predecessor.
Weiland's vision would require that several older/aged buildings on the site be demolished, according to neighborhood leaders. That would include the property's main building, a long brick structure with interesting architectural flourishes that faces Glen Iris. Originally, the building was a factory for James G. Dodson's Ironized Yeast Company before cough-syrup makers the Creomulsion Company bought it. Most recently, a tenant in the film industry has leased that building and others on the property. Old Fourth Ward leaders have stressed that the neighborhood's master plan encourages historic rehabilitation in general — and specifically recommends the Glen Iris site for mixed-use redevelopment.