Should the Crum & Forster be saved?

Reports say preservationists to sue the City of Atlanta in order to save the Midtown Landmark building.

The fate of Midtown's Landmark Crum & Forster building continues to twist and turn.

On Monday, WABE reported that preservationists were readying to sue the City of Atlanta in order to save the building. The station indicated that a local attorney was to file notice of ante litem on behalf of a group who believe City officials are ignoring their own preservation regulations.

Preservationists thought they had scored a significant victory in early August when the Atlanta Urban Design Commission (UDC) voted unanimously to reject an Economic Review Panel’s recommendation to side with the Georgia Tech Foundation Real Estate Holding Corporation’s (GTF) application to demolish the rear two-thirds of the building.

But last month, the City and the GTF reached a settlement of a lawsuit previously brought by the GTF against the City and the City’s Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) that will allow the BZA to rule on the matter on Nov. 1  

The BZA could allow the foundation to demolish the building, which would go against a court order. But in a statement to WABE Monday, a City official indicated, “The City seeks a balanced resolution that would preserve a portion of the Crum and Forster building and support the construction by the Georgia Tech Foundation of a high tech computing center --- a $100 million investment in Midtown.”

The Crum & Forster, located at 771 Spring Street, was built in 1926 and is positioned across the street from the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center. The GTF purchased the building in 2007 in an effort to expand nearby Technology Square. The three-story structure is built in the Italian Renaissance Revival style and its most striking architectural feature is a façade with three soaring arches, supported by two columns that accentuate the front entrance. Many argue that in a city where so many buildings have been torn down in the name of progress, this one is worth saving.

The GTF has said that it would like to preserve the front third portion of the building, but demolish the back two-thirds in order to make way for a High Performance Computing Center for Modeling and Simulation, a 24-story, 680,000 square-foot private and public development that would support the economic development of area through creating jobs, new tax revenues and a technology cluster. Some argue the under-utilized brick building is standing in the way of progress.

Meanwhile, others contend that the decision by the City to disregard the recommendation of its own UDC “is very troubling” as Midtown Neighbors’ Association Land Use Committee Chair Tony Rizzuto told Patch earlier this month?

So, what do you think? Is the Crum & Forster building worth saving in part or in whole?

How concerned are you that the City’s actions seemingly demonstrate disrespect for its own zoning ordinances?

Let us know in the comment section below.

JM Hurricane October 24, 2012 at 01:37 PM
If you go to Tokyo, Bangkok or Singapore etc. there will be a 1000 year old Pagoda or Buddist Temple on the same plot of land with a tricked out, 80 story glass skyscraper build around the historical structure. Incorporating it. Accentuating it. Old meets New. Welcome to the 21st century Atlanta. Geez!
Skippy Butter October 30, 2012 at 10:09 PM
See: Hearst Tower, NYC http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2d/Hearst_Tower_Base.JPG http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hearst_Tower_(New_York_City) No reason something similar can't be done here. Just get a decent architect to come up with a design. I think the compromise offered by the GTF is fair.
Skippy Butter October 30, 2012 at 10:15 PM
And by similar, I don't mean identical. I meant that with a little creative genius, the older Crum & Forster building could be incorporated into the new computing center in some fashion, as happened with the Hearst Building.
Lisa Martin-Hansen November 01, 2012 at 12:01 AM
I had heard that Tech was interested in keeping the front part of the building but renovating it. I am NOT in favor of tearing down what little is left of Atlanta history, but I also do not want to block getting a structure up to code and to make it more usable.
Cynthia December 18, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Maybe it's just me, but I think this building would make a great Apple store. Apple is known for adapting their modern stores to old architecture (see: grand central station or pretty much any store in Europe). The Barnes & Noble next door already has an apple section that could stand to be expanded. It's perfectly located for GA Tech students and Midtown residents. Not to mention, bringing a stand alone Apple store to midtown Atlanta. I cant be the only one sick of driving to lenox or perimeter for anything Apple.


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