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Historic downtown recording studio to remain (mostly) standing—for now

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But an engineering firm hired by developers says the structure is unsafe and needs to fall

A picture of 152 Nassau Street with a big chunk ripped out of it by a backhoe.
Preservationists were able to temporarily save the building from total demolition last month.
Historic Atlanta, via Facebook

One month ago, at the 11th hour, preservationist group Historic Atlanta halted the total demolition of 152 Nassau Street, an age-old building downtown that once housed a recording studio known for pressing some of country music’s first hits.

Construction crews had started tearing down the building at the beginning of August—just days before Historic Atlanta secured a stop-work order from a Fulton County judge—to make way for a proposed Margaritaville resort tower, a development that some have called an affront to the city’s musical legacy.

On Thursday, after hearing arguments from Historic Atlanta, the City of Atlanta, and lawyers representing developers Wyndham Destinations and Margaritaville Vacation Club, a Fulton County Superior Court judge determined the demolition would be delayed at least a bit longer.

“All parties will supply the court with written orders and will await the judge’s ruling,” says a tweet by Historic Atlanta’s Save 152 Nassau Street page.

Historic Atlanta leaders have sued the city, alleging former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration inked a “sweetheart deal” with the developers that paved the way for demolition of multiple downtown buildings—including 152 Nassau—“without any review by the public or even the city council.”

City leaders have said everything leading up to the demotion was done above board, and the developers claim Historic Atlanta’s case is moot because it doesn’t own the property, according to WABE.

We’re still making noise about the proposed Margaritaville development that will completely demolish the historic...

Posted by Save 152 Nassau on Wednesday, September 11, 2019

In court Thursday, it was revealed that Margaritaville developers had enlisted an engineering firm to assess the state of the partially demolished building. The firm claims the structure is unsound and requires an immediate and complete teardown, according to the news station.

But architect and Historic Atlanta leader Kyle Kessler has argued that what was felled last month was largely additions to the building that were added after its initial construction. The rest, Kessler contends, is still preservable.

The judge seemed to agree with Kessler’s assessment Thursday, saying the buildings “wouldn’t be standing” if they were unstable, WABE reported.

The Atlanta City Council has also lobbied in favor of preserving the building, passing a resolution that opposes its demolition last month.

If the developer has its way, the approximate location of the former recording studio would house the grease traps and Dumpsters for the Margaritaville restaurant.

The stop-work order remains effective while the judge mulls a decision.