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MARTA’s Clifton Corridor expansion project could threaten gay club deemed historic

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Preservationists are fighting to save one of the oldest LGBTQ establishments in the city

A MARTA train at Atlanta’s King Memorial Station.
MARTA officials say they’ll heed preservationist concerns.
Curbed Atlanta

A popular club widely considered historic by Atlanta’s LGBTQ community could be on the chopping block as local transit officials move forward with a plan to build out a long-anticipated rail line.

Construction of the Clifton Corridor, a potentially $1.9 billion transit line linking MARTA’s Lindbergh Station to Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, could spell the end for The Heretic, a gay bar on Cheshire Bridge Road, according to WABE.

The Heretic has catered to the city’s thriving LGBTQ community for decades, and activists with preservationist group Historic Atlanta are lobbying to save the building from possible demolition.

Charlie Paine, chair of the LGBTQ historic preservation advisory for Historic Atlanta, told the radio station, “There are very few gay spaces that have maintained themselves in the gay community and survived.”

He’s right; oftentimes, when developers claim properties that have housed LGBTQ businesses, those businesses are pushed out of the community and rarely replaced.

In fact, the impending redevelopment of Underground Atlanta is the only major project in recent memory that’s slated to incorporate a new LGBTQ business. A gay dance club and cabaret is expected to claim space at the downtown project.

Granted, the Clifton Corridor project is still in its infancy, with the planning and design phase scheduled to be complete in roughly the next five years, according to a project timeline recently published by MARTA.

MARTA officials told WABE it would review Historic Atlanta’s concerns as the project progresses.

Paine told CBS46 he thinks The Heretic could be eligible for a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.