Throughout the years, preservation advocacy in Atlanta has often been limited to grandiose public buildings and mansions by famous architects. But those efforts could be extending to, shall we say, lesser works.
In the last week, the preservation community has been raising awareness about a threatened 1930s brick retail space on the western side of the city. Located across Marietta Street from Georgia Tech — and until recently housing the Engineer’s Bookstore — the brick building is a part of the Means Street Historic District and is a good example of vintage retail space.
Photos taken by Atlanta’s Architectural Tourist Terry Kearns show the building still retains what appears to be the original pressed-tin ceilings and structural brick walls.
The push comes from the Atlanta Preservation Alliance, which announced through Facebook the building’s plight. It seems that new owners purchased the building last month with hopes of demolishing it for the construction of a gas station and convenience store on the site, according to emails obtained through the Neighborhood Planning Unit.
It’s not that the building holds particular historical significance, but rather that it lends character to the street which will be destroyed by another typical gas station, supporters argue. With plenty of vacant lots in the area, many are questioning why a building that could provide viable retail space and enrich the corridor needs to be sacrificed.
The larger issue isn’t just about preservation, but of how Atlanta wants to define its inner core: small-scale, street-front retail versus a suburban-style gas station and convenience store.
A saving grace for the building may be the new owner’s application for a liquor license, which is currently under review.
- Atlanta Preservation Alliance [Facebook page]