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Crum & Forster Update

October 26, 2012

 The week of October 22, 2012 has been significant in the fight to save ALL of the Landmark Crum & Forster Building.

On Monday, October 22, 2012, an ante litem notice was delivered to Mayor Reed and City Council President Mitchell from Attorney Mary Huber on behalf of six City of Atlanta taxpayers. Their claim is for attorney’s fees and costs of litigation in connection with a petition to set aside the ultra vires and unlawful provisions of the Consent Order. This Order was issued on September 24, 2012 in the Georgia Tech Foundation’s suit against the City regarding the Landmark Crum & Forster Building.

On Wednesday, October 24 the proposed legislation to de-designate two-thirds of the Landmark Crum & Forster property was before the Atlanta Urban Design Commission (AUDC) for review and comment.  By a vote of 7 yeas and 1 abstention, the AUDC opposed the legislation.

At the same hearing, under the area of Other Business, the AUDC, by a vote of 7 yeas and 1 abstention, decided to send a letter regarding the Consent Order. The letter to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) will urge that quasi-judicial board not to comply with the Consent Order and not to reverse its original decision. To comply with the Consent Order and issue the previously denied Special Administrative Permit would allow for the application and issuance of a permit to demolish the Crum & Forster Building in the very near future.

Once again, as at every public meeting for the last four years, the decision has been in favor of the Landmark Crum & Forster Building.

The next scheduled public hearing for the Landmark Crum & Forster Building is before the BZA on November 1, 2012, beginning at 12:00 pm, in City Council Chambers, Atlanta City Hall, 55 Trinity Avenue. It is of the utmost importance that as many people as possible attend this meeting. All those who are interested in the Crum & Forster building’s preservation are urged to attend. Additionally, the APC urges those to attend who believe that their voices should continue to be heard through the City process and not made invalid by interference from the executive branch of the city government.

If you are unable to attend, your next best step would be to send an email to the BZA whose members include: Linda Sessler, Chair, Martha Porter Hall, Danita Brown, Karl Barnes and Eugene Miller. Your email should be sent to Brandy Crawford at the Office of Planning. Her email address is bcrawford@atlantaga.gov and you should ask that your email be circulated to the BZA members.


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August 8 – Crum & Forster AUDC Hearing

August 3, 2012

Please support APC’s efforts to save ALL of the Crum & Forster Building with your presence at the August 8 AUDC hearing at City Hall!

The meeting will last from 4:00 pm into the evening. The APC will present arguments against the application for demolition. If you can also speak, please contact us at info@PreserveAtlanta.com so that we may plan our strategy within the limited amount of time available to speak.

For background information on this critical issue please review this page that includes a synopsis, primary documentation and community reaction and these blog posts:

 


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Crum & Forster – Deferred to August 8

June 28, 2012

At the June 27, 2012 Atlanta Urban Design Commission hearing, the application for a Type IV Certificate of Appropriateness for demolition due to unreasonable economic return submitted by the Georgia Tech Foundation for 771 Spring Street, the Crum & Forster Building, was deferred to August 8, 2012.

Representatives from the Atlanta Preservation Center were in attendance to monitor the deferral that was requested by the Economic Review Panel. The rationale of the Panel was that all three members of the Panel were not able to be at the June 27 hearing.

The Economic Review Panel submitted its recommendation to the Atlanta Urban Design Commission via a letter on Thursday, June 21, 2012. The letter stated that the Panel was unanimous in its finding that reasonable economic return could not be achieved if all of the Landmark building remained. The letter is available here. The APC submitted materials to counter the Panel’s findings.

It is important to know that the Atlanta Urban Design Commission does not have to accept the findings of the Economic Review Panel. This fact makes the participation of the public imperative for saving ALL of the Landmark Crum & Forster Building.


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Crum & Forster – June 27 Hearing Deferred

June 26, 2012

It is the understanding of the Atlanta Preservation Center that the application for a Type IV Certificate of Appropriateness for demolition due to unreasonable economic return submitted by the Georgia Tech Foundation for 771 Spring Street, the Crum & Forster Building, will be deferred from the June 27, 2012 hearing of the Atlanta Urban Design Commission to a date to be determined.

The Economic Review Panel submitted its recommendation to the Atlanta Urban Design Commission via a letter on Thursday, June 21, 2012. John Shlesinger submitted the letter on behalf of the Panel. The letter stated that the Panel was unanimous in its finding that reasonable economic return could not be achieved if all of the Landmark building remained. The letter is available here . The APC submitted materials to counter the Panel’s findings.

Via email to interested parties, Doug Young of the Commission indicated that the Economic Review Panel requested a deferral of the case from the June 27, 2012 Commission hearing. In requesting this deferral, the Panel did not indicate its preferred date for the case to be heard. The APC has been informed that the Commission has been advised to grant this deferral.

The APC will have representatives at the June 27 Commission hearing to monitor the deferral of the matter and to gain the most current information regarding the application. The APC will communicate this information via email, our website and social media as soon as possible.

Your participation in this process remains important. Please follow the action plan outlined on the APC website and remain engaged to save ALL of the Landmark Crum & Forster Building.


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Crum & Forster – Economic Review Panel Decision & AUDC Hearing Wed, June 27th

June 25, 2012

The challenge to save ALL of the Landmark Crum & Forster Building continues with the decision of the Economic Review Panel and the uncertainty as to whether the Atlanta Urban Design Commission will hear the application this Wednesday, June 27, 2012.

The Economic Review Panel submitted its recommendation to the Atlanta Urban Design Commission via a letter on Thursday, June 21, 2012. John Shlesinger submitted the letter on behalf of the Panel. The letter stated that the Panel was unanimous in its finding that reasonable economic return could not be achieved if all of the Landmark building remained. The letter also communicated the opinion of the Panel that saving part of the building was “gracious and fair.” The letter is available here.

Via email to interested parties, Doug Young of the Commission indicated that the Economic Review Panel has requested a deferral of the case from the June 27, 2012 Commission hearing. In requesting this deferral, the Panel did not indicate its preferred date for the case to be heard. As of Monday, June 25, 2012, the case remains on the agenda for the hearing.

Until further information is obtained from the Atlanta Urban Design Commission, it should be assumed that the matter of the application of a Certificate of Appropriateness: Unreasonable Economic Return to demolish approximately two-thirds of the Landmark Crum & Forster Building will be heard on Wednesday, June 27 and that the Commission will rule on the application.


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Engage to Save All of Crum & Forster

May 23, 2012

The Atlanta PreservationCenter continues to engage in the struggle to save all of theLandmarkCrum & ForsterBuilding.  The Center submitted a package of materials in opposition to the application Type IV Certificate of Appropriateness, Unreasonable Economic Return to the Atlanta Urban Design Commission on Monday, May 21, 2012, thus meeting the deadline for submissions to the Commission for the appointed Economic Review Panel.

 The Georgia Tech Foundation, Inc. filed this application to demolish approximately two-thirds of theLandmarkCrum & ForsterBuildingon April 17, 2012. The matter was heard by the Commission on May 9, 2012 when arguments were made for and against the application, documents were submitted and two members of the Economic Review Panel were appointed. To date, the third member of this panel has not been announced.

 The next hearing by the Commission of this application is scheduled for Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 4:00 pm. At that time the findings of the Economic Review Panel will be considered by the Commission, public comment will be heard and a decision on the application is anticipated.

 TheAtlantaPreservationCenteris continuing to encourage the public to contact the Commission and officials involved in the application. It is the position of the Center that the application’s argument of unreasonable economic return is unsupported and that the partial demolition of a Landmark property undermines the integrity of City’s Preservation Ordinance.


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First AUDC Hearing for Crum & Forster

May 10, 2012

The first Atlanta Urban Design Commission hearing related to the application for partial demolition of the Landmark Crum & Forster Building by the Georgia Tech Foundation, Inc. was held in Old City Council Chambers in the Landmark City Hall yesterday, Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm. The matter was scheduled to be heard fourth on the agenda but was moved and heard last.

Once heard, the Foundation was represented by legal council, Carl Westmoreland, John E. Majeroni, Executive Director of the Georgia Tech Office of Real Estate Development and Tom Ventulett of Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates, Inc. Architects for the proposed project. Opposition to the application followed. The following spoke in opposition to the application: Robert Zoeckler, legal counsel for the Atlanta Preservation Center; Boyd Coons, Executive Director of the Atlanta Preservation Center; Laura DePree, architect and granddaughter of Lewis Crook (an architect of the Crum & Forster Building and graduate of Georgia Tech School of Architecture); and Erin Kane, architectural historian and VP of Historic Preservation for the Inman Park Neighborhood Association. There were more than 30 citizens present in opposition to the application.

Two individuals were appointed to the economic review panel. Tom Aderhold, President of Aderhold Properties, was appointed by the Georgia Tech Foundation. Scott R. Taylor, President of Carter & Associates, was appointed by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission. A third person will be appointed by the first two appointees to complete the panel. This panel is charged with reviewing and making recommendations to the Atlanta Urban Design Commission related to the unreasonable economic return feature of the application for demolition.

It was decided by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission that any materials related to this application shall be submitted to the Commission by Monday, May 21, 2012, 5:00 pm. Assuming that the economic review panel reaches a decision, the Commission will next hear this case on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 4:00 pm at City Hall. (Since the time of this post, the hearing has been deferred to June 27th.)


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Change in AUDC Meeting Location

May 9, 2012

We’ve just been notified that thisafternoon’s AUDC meeting will NOT be held in Council Chambers. 

Instead, it will be in the Old CouncilChambers which are on the 3rd floor of the original City HallBuilding, at 68 Mitchell Street SW, Atlanta GA 30303 at 4:00 pm. So please enter from Mitchell Street or you can enter from Trinity and walk through the atrium to the Mitchell Street building. 

The security personnel at the building’sentrance can provide directions. In addition, APC staff will be posted atstrategic points to direct folks, including at the Trinity Street entrance. 

Please notify anyone you know may be planning to attend.


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Act for Preservation Today!

Today is the day of the first AUDC Meeting in the application process to demolish approximately 2/3 of the Crum & Forster Building.

The first Atlanta Urban Design Commission meeting that needs your presence is today Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm at the City Council Chambers in City Hall, 55 Trinity Avenue SW, Atlanta GA 30303. We have two expectations of this meeting: an economic review panel may be empowered to consider the application and the APC and others will submit materials and statements in support or denial of the application.
 
It is expected there will be two Atlanta Urban Design Commission meetings which will require a notable presence of those interested in the preservation of this building and the integrity of Atlanta’s Preservation Ordinance. Please note that public demonstrations are not allowed in the Council Chamber but a recognizable public turnout is essential to defeating this application.

Visit the Crum & Forster Page for complete details on this situation and an action plan to stop the demolition threat.


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Act for Preservation

May 3, 2012

An action plan is in place. The Crum & Forster Building, the City’s Preservation Ordinance and the Atlanta Preservation Center need your help. Visit the Crum & Forester page for details.