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First rendering of controversial downtown Margaritaville tower has surfaced

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Filings indicate developers are inching closer to demolishing two historic buildings

An early rendering shows the top of the proposed resort tower, featuring modern construction and a Margaritaville logo on top.
It would rise 21 stories, overlooking Centennial Olympic Park.
Long Engineering

In recent months, plans for a high-rise Margaritaville resort in downtown Atlanta have become more palpable, as developers Wyndham Destinations and Margaritaville Vacation Club filed permit requests to level a couple of historic buildings, potentially clearing a project site between Nassau and Walton streets.

The controversial resort proposal is expected to climb 21 stories and feature upwards of 200 “vacation ownership units”—urban timeshares—an 18th floor pool deck and spa, and a two-story, 14,000-square-foot Margaritaville restaurant.

And now, the project that threatens to replace what many believe to be the birthplace of country music appears to have a face.

A rendering posted online by land surveying and civil engineering firm Long Engineering—the company filing permit applications—gives an idea what could be built at the block neighboring Centennial Olympic Park.

But it could take more than a spiffy facade design to derail the efforts of historic preservationists and longtime country music fans—and even some Parrotheads—crusading against the demolition of 152 Nassau Street, where the first hit country record was recorded in the 1920s.

A petition launched by Atlanta architect and preservationist Kyle Kessler seeking to protect the historic building has logged more than 5,000 signatures from “lovers of ‘both kinds’ of music—‘country and western’—as well as blues, gospel, jazz, hip-hop, rock ‘n’ roll, rap, folk, reggae, metal, classical, and more,” per the organizers.

The Nassau Street landmark has already survived far more than downtown’s tornado of a decade ago.

Urbanist blog ThreadATL reports the structure has continued serving downtown Atlanta over the decades in various capacities—as a recording studio, a film production company’s office, the home of an engineering and contracting firm, and a law firm—and stood through what the publication calls the “parking apocalypse,” when many downtown properties were turned into parking complexes.

Representatives with Long Engineering could not be reached for comment Wednesday. This story will be updated with any responses that come.