Downtown's historic Olympia Building is undergoing a very un-Atlanta process: a painstaking and expensive restoration. WSB-TV recently toured the ever-deepening site to document the great deal of work that's gone into saving the building's 1936 façade, which borders Woodruff Park and is topped by that flashing, iconic Coca-Cola sign. The renovation team has discovered that parts of the building actually date to the 1800s, and that it once functioned as one of the oldest post offices in Georgia — a fact that will be commemorated by a plaque on the finished building. The restoration is expected to wrap next spring.
Built by storied Atlanta architects Ivey and Crook, the pie-shaped, two-story building had been listed and delisted for years. A company called CSH-23 Peachtree LLC paid substantially less for the Olympia ($2.2 million) than its $3.5 million valuation in 1996, when the Woodruff Foundation gifted the building to the state in preparation for the Olympics.
Renderings that emerged last year suggest the Olympia is slated for a Walgreens Pharmacy. The pharmacy's name would be etched in art deco lettering on a "new black aluminum canopy marquee to match historical precedent," the plans suggest. New second-floor windows and a tenant blade sign on the side of the building would also reflect the 1930s aesthetic.
The big sign on the roof will likely stay, as Coca-Cola has leased the rooftop space through 2017 — at a base rent of $8,641 per month.