Judge Temporarily Stops Demolition Of Historic Atlanta Music Studio

A judge has ordered work crews to temporarily stop demolition work on a downtown building with historic significance in Atlanta. (Emil Moffatt/WABE)

A Fulton County Superior Court judge has granted a temporary restraining order halting, for now, the demolition of a building significant to Atlanta’s music history.

A preservation group, Historic Atlanta Inc., asked for the order as its legal fight against the city continues.

The building at 152 Nassau Street near Centennial Olympic Park, was where the first country music hit was recorded in 1923. A developer has plans to build a 21-story Margaritaville-themed resort hotel on the site.

Demolition crews had begun work this week, taking down a large portion of an exterior wall of the building.

As that happened, Judge Shawn Ellen LaGrua held a hearing Thursday morning. Almost immediately after the proceedings began, LaGrua asked an attorney representing the developer to contact the demolition crew and tell them to stop their work.

(Emil Moffatt/WABE)

LaGrua then listened as lawyers from both sides made their case.

Historic Atlanta Inc. claims the city did not follow proper zoning procedure when it made an agreement with the developer.

The city of Atlanta claims it did follow zoning procedures as the settlement agreement with the developer did not require a change in zoning. They also claim that Historic Atlanta Inc. doesn’t have standing as it doesn’t own any of the property on the site.

Late Thursday afternoon, LaGrua granted the temporary restraining order, which is in effect until Aug. 29 when the next hearing in the case takes place.

“It was tough watching more of the historic recording studio be demolished just minutes before a judge could intervene,” said Kyle Kessler, the architect who has spearheaded the effort to preserve the building. “but I’m thankful we still have what remains, and I’ll continue to advocate for its preservation.”