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Westside neighbors worry stone church could be demolished for a Starbucks

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The 98-year-old sanctuary is for sale, and preservationists say it might be flattened for commercial space

A one-story stone church with stained glass.
The old stone church, built from locally quarried granite.
Terry Kearns

Atlanta’s Westside neighborhoods are booming, with new apartments, stores, and restaurants popping up on formerly industrial tracts of land along Howell Mill Road and elsewhere.

But as development creeps northward, residential neighborhoods enriched with more than a century of history are starting to feel the squeeze.

Berkeley Park—a neighborhood listed on the National Register of Historic Places—stands in the path of such development, around the intersection of Howell Mill Road and Interstate 75.

According to neighborhood groups, a stone church that’s stood on the corner of Howell Mill Road and Holmes Street for 98 years is now at risk of demolition.

Built out of granite from a quarry on DeFoor Avenue for the Underwood Methodist Church, the building currently houses the Sanctuary Village of Power.

Posts on the Atlanta Preservation Alliance Facebook page indicate the owner of the land has given the congregation until April to move out.

Meanwhile, the church has launched a fundraising campaign to purchase a new building.

The building’s cornerstone.
Terry Kearns

Word is that the owner is courting commercial tenants for the site—potentially a Starbucks. The property last sold in late 2016 for $925,000.

The general consensus among neighbors, a nearby resident tells Curbed Atlanta, is that the Berkeley Park community doesn’t need or want another Starbucks in the area.

West of Midtown, Starbucks operates two locations at Atlantic Station and another at The District at Howell Mill.

Attempts to contact the parcel’s owner for more information have been unsuccessful, but we’ll continue to post updates as the situation progresses.