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Despite Partial Demolition, Architect Says Historic Atlanta Studio Can Be Salvaged

Soon after crews began demolition Thursday on the former recording studio in downtown Atlanta, a Fulton County judge ordered them to stop. Historic Atlanta is trying to attain landmark status for the former studio and an adjacent building once used by the film industry.
Soon after crews began demolition Thursday on the former recording studio in downtown Atlanta, a Fulton County judge ordered them to stop. Historic Atlanta is trying to attain landmark status for the former studio and an adjacent building once used by the film industry.
Credit Ron Harris / Associated Press
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A hearing is set for later this month to determine the future of a historic building in downtown Atlanta.

The former music studio at 152 Nassau St. was the place where the first country hit was recorded in 1923, but it nearly came down last week.

Demolition crews toppled the upper portion of an exterior wall before a Fulton County judge ordered them to stop.

Architect Kyle Kessler has been leading the effort to preserve the building amid development.

“Much of what had been demolished from the building so far has been later additions,” Kessler said. “There’s nothing wrong with adding on to or changing buildings, but we’re trying to keep as much of that historic material as was there back in 1923 for these recording sessions.”

And he says if Historic Atlanta prevails in its lawsuit against the city, he hopes developers will embrace the building’s history.

“I’ve never tried to oppose the Margaritaville development. But have always just presumed that if they had it under contract or if they had plans for it, that they could continue to do what they were interested in doing, just keeping the building,” said Kessler.

Historic Atlanta is trying to attain landmark status for the former recording studio and an adjacent building once used by the film industry.

The developer of that 21-story Margaritaville-themed hotel is anxious to move forward clearing the site but is now forced to await a judge’s decision.

In a hearing last Thursday in Fulton County Superior Court, lawyers for the city of Atlanta maintained that all zoning and permitting procedures for the site were followed. They also claimed the preservation group has no standing.