Surprise! City tells developers they’re open to demolishing Atlanta Constitution building

Officials tweak RFP day before Thanksgiving, say they will consider proposals to raze Art Moderne building

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Historic preservationists and fans of interesting architecture rejoiced in October when Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm, said it wanted to see the old Atlanta Constitution building reused. In a request for proposals asking potential buyers what they might do with the nearly 70-year-old city-owned building in South Downtown, officials made “adaptive reuse” a priority. Finally, the city realized the importance of hanging on to what’s left of its historic-building stock.The day before Thanksgiving, fans of the rare Art Moderne building learned that city officials had changed their minds.A Nov. 23 change to the RFP entirely removes “reuse and/or adaptively reuse” as a primary objective. The city says “renovation is preferred” but officials would now consider proposals that call for “demolishing the existing improvements and developing a new building (or buildings) for commercial or residential use based on the highest and best use determined by the respondent.” It’s unclear what prompted the change. Considering it is the Thanksgiving holiday, getting an official answer from anyone in charge could prove difficult. We’ve reached out and will update if we hear back. But the announcement puts the dilapidated building, one that’s always been high on the list of Atlanta’s endangered structures, back in jeopardy. The RFP notes that the building’s architecture pays homage to the city’s railroad roots — Atlanta’s Terminal and Union Stations once stood nearby — and says it “stands as one of few remaining monuments to this time period in the city’s history.” CL toured the building in 2014 before crews cleaned it up for the potential sale; here’s our gallery.A group of preservationists and South Downtown residents have already started mobilizing. A Save the Atlanta Constitution Facebook group has been launched, urging fans of the building to contact Mayor Kasim Reed, who chairs Invest Atlanta’s board.