The Georgia Trust

2008 PLACES IN PERIL: THE CASTLE

low scale building threatened in high-rise area

The Story: Built 1909-1910 by Ferdinand McMillan as his retirement home, The Castle adjoins large Midtown office buildings and the Woodruff Arts Center on Atlanta’s Peachtree Street. McMillan incorporated unique architectural features including “Uncle Remus” niches and spring and an early use of asbestos shingles. McMillan called his castle on Peachtree Street “Fort Peace.”

Associated with the city’s arts community, it was used for arts-related activities from 1938 through the 1960s. It has housed the Atlanta Theatre Guild, Atlanta Writers’ Club, and Junior Theatre of Atlanta among others.

Threatened with demolition in the mid-1980s, the building was called “a hunk of junk” by Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young in June 1986, sparking strengthening of the local preservation ordinance. In 1989, the building achieved local landmark status and was restored as part of AT&T’s Promenade project.

The Threat: There is little activity at the property as it stands empty and deteriorating. Purchased in 2002 for $1 million, the property had a $4 million asking price when the the building was placed on the Places in Peril list back in late 2007. As of March of 2010, the property is listed for $2.2 million. Roof tiles are missing, and water is starting to damage the interior.

The Solution: The building is of great concern for the local preservation community and surrounding Midtown area. The Atlanta Midtown Alliance is forming a task force to help stabilize the structure and encourage its revitalization.

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