Story/significance: Built in 1928 as the southern branch of the Crum and Forster Insurance Company, this office building is a rare example of classically designed architecture in Midtown Atlanta. It was designed by a team of architects including the New York firm of Helme, Corbett and Harrison Architects, as well as the Atlanta firm of Ivey and Crook. Helme, Corbett and Harrison were a highly regarded firm responsible for the design of Rockefeller Center, LaGuardia Airport and the United Nations Building. Atlanta architects Ed Ivey and Lewis Crook were trained in classical architecture design at Georgia Tech during the early years of Tech’s School of Architecture.
Challenge/threat: With the intent of expanding technology square, the Georgia Tech Foundation of the Georgia Institute of Technology purchased the Crum and Forster building. In May 2008 the Foundation applied for a Special Administrative Permit to demolish the building. The Foundation proposed demolition to clear the lot for future development.
Progress: The exterior windows of the building have been enclosed to negate vandalism. As part of a collaborative effort involving the Georgia Trust, the Atlanta Preservation Center and other local preservation advocates, the structure has been listed as a City of Atlanta Landmark Structure.
Impacts/outcomes: Because of the building’s City of Atlanta Landmark Structure status, demolition requests to the City of Atlanta have been denied. Protection and future redevelopment of this significant architectural building would promote preservation and adaptive rehabilitation in Midtown Atlanta, as well as preserve a glimpse of the past among current new development in the Tech Square complex.
Next Steps: The Georgia Trust and the Atlanta Preservation Center are working to ensure that the building be spared demolition and are preparing for further legal disputes. The Georgia Trust is also working to promote continued discussion about the adaptive reuse of the structure.