Is GA Tech trying to pull a fast one today?

From the tip line:

GA Tech foundation just closed a few months ago on some property at 771 Spring St. Built in 1927, it features some very rich architecture. Of course, GA Tech can’t wait to demolish it and replace the stately building and its hundred year old trees with yet more boring glass boxes. They, at the last minute snuck onto the Midtown Neighbors Association Land Use Committee’s agenda tomorrow night.

What do they want to do? Demolish the building so that , um, they could build sidewalks that conform to ‘midtown phase 3 standards’. problems is twofold:

1. They can easily widen the sidewalks without demolishing the building and

2. they have already started demolishing the interior (without a visible permit, yikes). I have photos I took from broken windows where every piece of wall material (down to the conduit and metal studs) is stripped. They are not even waiting for public opinion.

Now, if they want to come clean and say they want to destroy what was, up to a few months ago, a perfectly good piece of historic architecture and put a box in its place, fine. But these back door tactics just stink to high heaven.

from the MNA Land use agenda notes: 771 Spring Street (SE corner of Spring Street and Armistead- located to the rear of the Technology Square Barnes and Noble bookstore)

Applicant: Tom Barranco on behalf of the Georgia Tech Foundation

Designers: Valdis D. Zusmanis, HGOR Architects

Scope: Demolition of Crum and Foster building designed by noted Atlanta architects Ivey & Crook in 1926 to bring sidewalk into conformity with Midtown Standard.

Documentation here.


  1. yellowb says:

    As someone who spent a lot of time on Tech’s campus from 1997-2004 and saw construction almost every year, I can say with certainty that this land will not be used for sidewalk widening. There is such a lack of land for Ga. Tech to expand on because it is surrounded by development on all sides of campus, that every piece of land it owns that has not been developed has something slated for it.

  2. lain says:

    I have no idea about the alleged shady dealings, but I do think it’d be a disaster if these buildings were torn down.

    You can’t buy back charm and character, and you certainly can’t expect to do very well when you replace them with parking lots. While it might make economic sense right now, I think that ultimately a decision to tear down this building will be detrimental to the neighborhood, making the Tech Square development significantly less successful.

    Unfortunately, this seems pretty typically Atlanta thing to do. I hope that the neighborhood will intervene appropriately.

  3. ACConservative says:

    “You can’t buy back charm and character”

    Well put lain. Sadly, nothing to do with Georgia Tech exudes charm and character… especially that losing streak to Georgia which is approaching a decade long.

  4. yellowb says:

    “Well put lain. Sadly, nothing to do with Georgia Tech exudes charm and character… especially that losing streak to Georgia which is approaching a decade long.”

    Georgia still has the record for 8 straight loses to Tech. But fear not, just like the tide turned when UGA fired Donnan, the tide is getting ready to turn again with the firing of Gailey.

  5. shep1975 says:

    yes, Bill, we attend classes in buildings that are a hundred plus years old — which we don’t tear down to build wider sidewalks.

  6. The New York Crank says:

    Congratulations! You’ve just discovered what I think is a universal phenomenon – the arrogance of institutions.

    Here in New York, the private, enormous, and filthy rich New York University is no different. Despite community protests few years ago, they pulled down an historic old building in Greenwich Village that had been home to Edgar Allan Poe, to throw up a monster class room building as an addition to their law school.

    Community outcry was so great and so furious that in the end they built an “interpretive reconstruction” of the building within the new law school building. The reconstruction looks sort of like the old building looked, although not exactly. It stands approximately where the old building was located, although not exactly.

    A plaque on the side of the building is a classic of academic horsefeathers, declaring the historic significance of the site that NYU sort-of copied sort-of near where the real McCoy stood.

    As a final thumb in the public’s eye (and in the eye of history, and of what was once landmark architecture) the university’s “interpretive reconstruction,” for instructional purposes and as a public service, is “open to the public” – two hours a week, on [I think] Thursdays from 9 AM to 11 AM.

    Have a nice visit.

    Crankily yours,
    The New York Crank

  7. Ms_midtown says:

    Aaaarrrgg! Those buildings at Juniper and 5th are beautiful apartments. That building would make a beautiful restored condo building
    We are losing more and more classic rental property in central Atlanta that is replaced by five story apartment complexes, and cookie cutter condos.

    That church should be ashamed of itself.

  8. Under Dr. Clough, Tech set a goal to revitalize Midtown, hence the jump across I-85. As The New York Crank points out Institutions are oftentimes arrogant. Hopefully Tech will wise up and work with the community not try to run roughshod over it.

  9. JBC says:

    Why should this surprise anyone?

    Dishonesty, cheating, and disregard for rules has a rich history at Tech. However, as the red headed stepchild of the state its kind of understandable for them to try everything they can to seem legitimate.

  10. Bill Simon says:


    Actually, it is because Tech witnessed the redneck-moth–f–kers at UGA get away with so much crap for so long that they decided “Hell! What’s the point in acting with integrity? Just look at what happens down at the Legislature every Session!”

  11. BubbaRich says:

    I’m really amazed to see the Peachsters all be against people using their own property, in accordance with the appropriate laws.

    Buncha communists, y’all are. Let the socialists take the property for the Common Good.

  12. Rick Day says:

    Bubba, the issue is not property rights, its the issue of a not for profit speculating in real estate (we take *dibs* on this corner) without adding to the quality of the neighborhood.

    The first round of public meetings tonight were about 28-0 against the notion. The architects presenting the issue were clear they had no intention of demolishing the building for the purpose of expanding sidewalks. The Foundation simply decided they didn’t want to mess with using the building. The arrogance displayed was matched only by the vehement opposition from committee members, neighborhood activists, architects and Tech students.

    This series of photos also shows that GA tech has already begun the process of demolishing the interior, without benefit of a city demolition/building permit or public input.

    is it too much to ask that GA Tech keep their property clean and to comply with local ordinances regarding permitted building construction?

    I am all for both property rights AND stewardship of the neighborhood. If they had no intention of developing the property, they should not have purchased it in the first place.

  13. Bill Simon says:

    ” If they had no intention of developing the property, they should not have purchased it in the first place.”

    They had the intention (read Ms_Midtown’s link), but figured out after a study (which they paid for as OWNERS of the building) thta it was going to be feasible to bring it up to code and the form they needed it to.

    I am amazed at the number of idiots who think Tech should MORE taxdollars in renovating a building than it would cost to demolish and build.

    But, I know…most of you whiners have no concept of Cost vs. Benefit, nor any clue as to how to start figuring out the numbers. Just bitch, whine, and moan…

  14. BubbaRich says:


    It still comes down to you wanting to tell GaTech how to use their own property, in this case, telling them they have to keep the interior and exterior the way they were because you like it that way.

    We’ve got idjuts in Doraville who don’t want new homes built in their neighborhood because they won’t look like the 50-year-old homes for workers.

    It’s not clear to me that Tech is actually breaking any laws, and it seems to me that they have gone through a proper process of vetting the building for fulfilling their original plan of upgrading the building to current code for their usage needs.

    I don’t know what the requirements for Atlanta are, but generally I’m in favor of strong requirements on general suitability for homes and businesses in their neighborhood. Tech has done a good job of remaking Midtown in a fairly consistent image, and I don’t think any of you liberal whiners REALLY want to take Midtown up to what it was before. I remember getting lost in Midtown once before the Olympics, and I ended up in Techwood Homes. The cops wouldn’t go there, then.

  15. shep1975 says:

    Actually Bubba, what this is is a group of taxpayers wanting to tell a government institution (ok, the foundation is probably technically a separate private institution, but it would not exist without the publically owned Georgia Institute of Technology (North Avenue Trade School).

    As a taxpayer in Georgia who’s tax dollars go to provide much of the funds in Georgia Tech’s budget, I think I have a right to encourage a public policy whereby a public institution is required to preserve a nearly 100 year old building in a city that has been far to quick over the years to tear down all elements of its past in favor of modernism and expediency. I would say we should save the building.

  16. BubbaRich says:


    You have the right (as a taxpayer or local resident) to encourage those behaviors from GaTech. GaTech should also have the right to invest its resources in an effective manner. If you want to keep that building there, despite it not meeting GaTech’s needs or current code, then you need to subsidize the decision, so that GaTech can get it up to code and needs from the building, or get another building to replace or supplement their plans and needs for that building.

    You are asking GaTech to consider your picture of the perfect neighborhood exclusively, and not any financial decisions about actual needs from a building.

    I think they ought to consider it, but they obviously have. I think they ought to obey current laws about the property, which isn’t clear to me.

    GaTech finally got to take over those dorms where Techwood Homes used to be. I still can’t believe y’all didn’t riot to have THOSE buildings preserved back in 2005. Didn’t y’all have any emotional ties to your crackhouse?

  17. atlfan says:

    To express your position, in addition to signing the online petition, it is best to directly write (via both hard copy and email) GT’s President:

    Dr. G. Wayne Clough
    Georgia Institute of Technology
    Atlanta, Georgia 30332
    [email protected]

    and send copies to The GT Foundation:

    John B. Carter Jr.
    Georgia Tech Foundation, Inc.
    760 Spring Street, NW, Suite 400
    Atlanta, Georgia 30308
    [email protected]

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