Siding with residents and supporters of the Sweet Auburn corridor eager to preserve its history, the Atlanta Urban Design Commission denied an Atlanta developer's request Wednesday to demolish the former Atlanta Daily World building.
The unanimous vote — 9-0 — follows weeks of controversy surrounding the old Atlanta Daily World building at 145 Auburn Ave. NE, just off the southwest corner of Piedmont Ave. NE.
Atlanta-based Integral Group, sought to demolish the Atlanta Daily World building and replace it with housing geared toward Georgia State University students.
Integral which did not attend the meeting, has 30 days to appeal the decision to the Fulton County Superior Court. But in a statement Intergral sent to East Atlanta Patch, the company said it won't appeal.
"The Atlanta Urban Design Commission denied the demolition application Integral submitted on Jan. 31, 2012. We appropriately respect the board’s research, deliberations, and decision concerning the former home of Atlanta Daily World newspaper," according to the statement, written jointly by M. Alexis Scott, the newspaper's publisher, and Valerie Edwards, Integral's executive vice president.
"As longtime residents of the Sweet Auburn community, we are especially encouraged by the recently conveyed commitment to preserve the building that formerly housed the Atlanta Daily World, as expressed by certain government leaders and historic preservationists," Scott and Edwards further said in their statement.
"As these individuals and groups bring forward practical solutions to the sale and restoration of 145 Auburn Ave., we look forward to working with them."
At a Feb. 22 meeting of the Atlanta Urban Design Commission, Edwards made a presentation that sought its approval to tear down the building, which dates back to 1930.
The company said to rehab it would bring an "unreasonable economic return."
Those who sought to preserve the building and who spoke at the most recent meeting, said tearing it down would further erode a part of Atlanta's legacy in a city that already suffers too much loss of older structures.
"This is a national site of journalistic history," Arthur J. Clement, an Old Fourth Ward resident and architect told commission members.
"The Atlanta Daily World is a part of the black press that has played a very pivotal role in this country."
Founded in 1928, the Atlanta Daily World is a newspaper focused on issues of importance to black Atlanta.
The media company was headquartered at 145 Auburn until the tornado of March 14, 2008 ripped through Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. The newspaper subsequently moved, though the Scott family still retains ownership of the building.
Scott, grandniece of the Atlanta Daily World's founder, recently sold the newspaper to a Detroit-based multi-media company.
Integral said it remains committed to the Sweet Auburn District's revitalization and the building remains for sale.
"The Sweet Auburn District was Atlanta’s original live, work and play community," Scott and Edwards wrote in their statement. "It once embodied an economic vitality that we all should seek to restore."