NEWS BRIEF: The battle for Star Bar is a fight against greater gentrification

We can’t let old Atlanta die without a fight.

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Photo credit: CL FILE
It's bigger than Star Community Bar.

“‘Community’ wasn’t in the name of this bar by accident.” These were the words of Jim Stacy, former co-owner of Star Community Bar, the 31-year-old bar and arts venue in Atlanta’s Little Five Points, that is currently fighting for its life after the 2.5 acre lot on which it resides was eyed for gentrification by developers, Third & Urban and Point Center Partners.

The community swiftly came to the bar’s aid. A petition with thousands of signatures was made. Outrage spread across social media. And it seems, for now, the majority is winning. Third & Urban and Point Center Partners, the current owners of Star Bar, canceled a meeting with Candler Park Neighborhood Organization to discuss future plans. While the developers have said they are in talks to have Star Bar relocate to a basement space in the new building, many are seeing this as a hush move and don’t want the historic building where Space Bar resides demolished.

Star Bar is just the latest case of old Atlanta being cast aside for a new, consumer-friendly version of city, aka a gentrified one. Saporta Report puts it perfectly in their recent article highlighting the greater skirmish, “this is not just about that bar and the fate of Little Five Points. It’s new condo owners’ noise complaints about bands in East Atlanta Village. It’s the City Council’s move to easily shutter nightclubs as ‘nuisances.’ It’s Atlanta once again demolishing or demonizing the sources of maybe its greatest product — musical culture.”

When it comes to the battle against gentrification, Little Five Points may be Atlanta’s most successful neighborhood. This if far from the first time developers have tried to “clean-up” the neighborhood. In the 1970s, the L5P community was victorious in stopping a freeway from being built in what is now Freedom Park. And in the 1990s, when a big chain pharmacy was trying to infiltrate the neighborhood, folks banded together and pushed them away, saving the longtime locals, Little Five Points Pharmacy.

Randy DuTeau, frontman for prolific Atlanta punk band Neon Christ (who recently held a reunion show at Star Bar), had this question for the Little Five Point community, and possibly Atlanta residents as a whole, “Do you want to completely forsake the story of the community for the new and shiny?” saportareport.com