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Downtown’s Medical Arts Building lands on National Register

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Listing could be first step of long-awaited adaptive reuse

The Medical Arts Building, looking more shabby than chic.
Mapio

One of Atlanta’s most prominent, blighted eyesores could be priming for an overhaul.

The hulking shell of the Medical Arts Building looms on the cusp of the downtown Connector, passed by hundreds of thousands of motorists a day.

Nearly 90 years old, the building has stood abandoned for decades, derelict and crumbling, though still with vestiges of its classical grandeur. A mysteriously elusive owner, coupled with a lack of care for the structure — a fire gutted much of its upper reaches years ago — left many to assume it would be torn down when the time came for redevelopment.

However, according to Atlanta INtown, the building has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The designation may seem odd for anyone who sees no more than a rotting relic here. But the news could actually mean that a redevelopment might finally be in store. With the historic designation, the door opens for easier access to adaptive-reuse tax credits, potentially allowing for the building to be reborn.

an early rendering of the proposed project
The Medical Arts Building in a rendering for Stitch.
Central Atlanta Progress

There’s no word yet of any renovation plans; however, the building was shown in all its hypothetically restored glory — complete with a taller tower piggybacking it — in renderings released for Stitch, the proposal to cap the adjacent interstate with a park.

We shall see if 2017 brings new life to the 1927 tower, and in doing, so fills a major gap between Midtown and downtown on Peachtree Street.