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With historic buildings razed, Margaritaville resort tower poised to ascend downtown

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Atlanta’s “birthplace of country music” has been reduced to rubble

An early rendering shows the top of the proposed resort tower, featuring modern construction and a Margaritaville logo on top.
The tower would stand 21 stories over many downtown tourist attractions.
Long Engineering

In the end, a century-old downtown Atlanta landmark has wasted away.

The Nassau Street building widely considered the birthplace of country music has been reduced to rubble, making way for a Jimmy Buffett-branded resort complex—a project that’s drawn the ire of local historic preservationists since it was initially pitched in 2014.

In December, developers with Wyndham Destinations and Margaritaville Vacation Club filed for permits with the city that pave the way for the construction of a 21-story tower, expected to be filled with timeshare units, What Now Atlanta first reported.

Construction contractor Landmark Builders told the publication the project, now in its “demo mobilization phase,” is on track to open in 2021.

A picture of 152 Nassau Street with a big chunk ripped out of it by a backhoe.
Before demolition wrapped.
Historic Atlanta, via Facebook

Projected to ascend at the corner of Centennial Olympic Park Drive and Nassau Street, the tower would lord over many of downtown’s tourist attractions, including the park, the SkyView Ferris wheel, and the Tabernacle music venue.

The developers’ road toward construction, however, has been anything but smooth.

For more than two years, historic preservationists railed against the proposed Margaritaville complex. They’ve lamented that construction plans called for the demolition of the Nassau Street building, which once housed a recording studio where one of country music’s first hits was produced, and a former film exchange a block away on Walton Street.

A rendering of the proposed resort tower, with Margaritaville signage at the top.
An early rendering of the project.
Long Engineering

More than 10,000 people signed an online petition lobbying to save the Nassau Street structure, and local architect and preservationist Kyle Kessler went to court in hopes of protecting the two buildings.

Demolition permits were acquired by developers “without any review by the public or even the city council,” the argument went.

The Atlanta City Council in August passed a resolution opposing the demolition of 152 Nassau Street. Ultimately, though, the old structure met the wrecking ball, like so many others downtown.

In addition to the timeshares, the development is now slated to feature two floors of retail and restaurant space at its base and a pool and fitness center on the 19th floor, per the permitting records.

A Margaritaville restaurant is anticipated to span a whopping 14,200 square feet, and the resort would house 207 timeshare units from studios to four-bedroom suites.