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Nassau Street recording studio narrowly dodges complete demolition (for now)

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The downtown Atlanta building should be saved for its historical and musical significance, preservationists say

A picture of 152 Nassau Street with a big chunk ripped out of it by a backhoe.
Demolition crews were busy at work last week before a judge halted the teardown.
Historic Atlanta, via Facebook

Atlanta architect and historic preservationist Kyle Kessler has been working tirelessly to keep an age-old recording studio in the heart of downtown alive.

For a while this month, it seemed his efforts, and those of preservationist group Historic Atlanta, were all for naught.

But on Thursday, while crews began actually tearing the structure down—interior demolition had started a week earlier—Kessler was in court vying for more time to keep 152 Nassau Street from being replaced by a Margaritaville resort tower.

That day, a Fulton County Superior County judge granted Historic Atlanta’s motion for a temporary restraining order, effectively putting a stop to the demolition of 152 Nassau and 141 Walton Street—a former film exchange—at least until later this month.

On August 29, a court hearing will be held to consider a permanent injunction, according to Historic Atlanta’s Facebook page.

A picture of 152 Nassau Street, an aging grey brick building with a black awning, looking small in the shadow of a downtown skyscraper.
The recording studio, as seen from Nassau Street before demolition commenced.
Google Maps

“While this is a victory indeed, it is just the first step,” the post said. “We still have a battle to fight for the permanent protection of these buildings.”

Historic Atlanta leaders have accused then-Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration of inking what they called a “sweetheart deal” with developers Wyndham Destinations and Margaritaville Vacation Club, allowing the team to tear down the buildings “without any review by the public or even the city council.”

On August 6, a week after interior demolition began at 152 Nassau, the Atlanta City Council adopted a resolution that voiced opposition to the plans to rip down the historic building, which was reportedly used to record some of country music’s first hits, in the 1920s.

That move, however, was merely a symbolic gesture; were it not for Historic Atlanta’s legal push, 152 Nassau would likely be little more than a pile of rubble by now.