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Officials: Partially collapsed old Masquerade building to be restored to former glory

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A construction accident spurred worries about the fate of the historic DuPre Excelsior Mill building

A gaping hole in the side of the old brick structure.
Rubble that could rise again.
Sean Keenan, Curbed Atlanta

When a section of Old Fourth Ward’s century-old DuPre Excelsior Mill collapsed in a construction mishap just before the new year, Atlantans fretted for an aging building that for decades had housed the Masquerade music venue.

The accident resulted from ongoing renovations that are transforming the former mill into high-end offices, leaving a gaping hole where the venue’s Purgatory concert hall once was. No one was injured.

Now, though, the rubble at the foot of the historic building is expected to rise again, ideally in the same way the bricks had been stacked long ago.

View from the Beltline.

City of Atlanta Department of Planning officials have been working with development firms Southeastern Capital and Coro Reality to ensure the damaged building is preserved as well as possible and repaired (almost) to its former state, planning commissioner Tim Keane told Curbed Atlanta.

“We expect they will rebuild using the preserved, original material,” he said. “There is no deadline for completion of plans but they want to move as quickly as possible.

“In the meantime,” added Keane, “they are protecting the original material and what remains of the structure.”

Development officials were unable to comment on the scope of the work, although a spokesperson for the project did not dispute the assessment of plans to piece the broken wall back together.

The Atlanta Preservation Center’s director of operations, David Mitchell, praised the developer and city’s efforts.

“The Atlanta Preservation Center is confident that the DuPre Excelsior Mill is moving forward, and we are comfortable that all parties are acting as stewards of the property,” he said.

Additionally, Keane told Curbed last month that city leaders are pushing for the creation of the Poncey-Highland Historic District, which would include the mill property and protect scores of older, more affordable apartment buildings nearby.