The Crum & Forster building located at 771 Spring Street was designed and built by New York’s Helmle, Corbett and Harrison in association with Ivey and Crook of Atlanta. Ed Ivey was the founding student of the Georgia Tech College of Architecture. Built for the Crum & Forster Insurance Company in 1926, the site is significant in establishing Atlanta as a regional center for insurance firms. The company was the first national insurance company to open their own house in Atlanta. The three-story structure is built in the Italian Renaissance Revival style. Its most striking architectural feature is a façade with three soaring arches, supported by two columns which accentuate the front entrance.
In 2007, the Crum & Forster building was purchased by the Georgia Tech Foundation. The Foundation applied for a Special Administrative Permit, a pre-requisite for applying for a demolition permit, with the intent to use the site for surface parking which was denied by the Office of Planning in July 2008. The Georgia Tech Foundation’s appeal of this decision made to the Board of Zoning Adjustment was also denied.
The Atlanta Preservation Center (APC) was involved in the effort to establish the building as a locally designated Landmark. The Atlanta Urban Design Commission’s process for this effort was followed and Landmark designation was confirmed by a unanimous vote of the City Council on August 17, 2009 and approved by the Mayor on August 25, 2009.
The Georgia Tech Foundation sued the City and the Board of Zoning Adjustment challenging the Landmark designation by the City as well as the Board of Zoning Adjustments’ decision. The APC provided defense in support of the City’s decisions. The case is still pending in Fulton County Superior Court.
On May 9, 2012, the Atlanta Urban Design Commission heard the second application for demolition. The applicants and the opposition spoke in the hearing. Two members of the economic review panel were appointed, a third is expected. The next hearing of the application made by the Georgia Tech Foundation is expected to be June 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm. Details of this are available here. Please plan on attending this meeting.
In addition to this challenge, the APC believes that further actions are threatening the survival of this Landmark building and the City’s preservation process. Please be on notice, as APC will count on your support and offers an action plan in which you can participate.
Primary Documents: Applications & Proposed Legislation are available here.
Public Response Documents and Links are available here.