SCAD's Ivy Hall recognized for excellence in historic preservation

Former Mansion Restaurant in Midtown originally built nearly 130 years ago was completely restored by the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2005

Midtown’s Ivy Hall was recently recognized by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and the Livable Communities Coalition (LCC) as one of the region’s five most innovative developments at the 2012 Developments of Excellence Awards. The winners, including and one “Great Place,” were announced at ARC’s annual State of the Region breakfast on Friday, Oct. 12, and included:

  • Historic Fourth Ward Park, Development of Excellence
  • Downtown Decatur, Great Place
  • Downtown Norcross, Livable Centers Initiative Achievement Award
  • College Park Gateway Center, Exceptional Merit for Public-Private Partnership
  • Ivy Hall, Exceptional Merit for Historic Preservation
  • Emory Point, Exceptional Merit for Infill Development

The Developments of Excellence awards, presented annually by ARC and the LCC, recognize developments in the 10-county Atlanta region that exemplify cutting-edge, livable designs that are helping to create a positive framework for future development. The Great Place is given to a place in metro Atlanta that represents livability and sustainability, but is not necessarily a single, private development.

“We are proud to recognize developers, local governments and nonprofit organizations that change the way people and businesses in the Atlanta region interact,” said ARC Chairman Tad Leithead in news release. “These projects and their success show us that metro Atlantans want to create a better region for themselves and for the residents of the future.”

Ivy Hall Cultural Arts and Writing Center, located at 179 Ponce de Leon Avenue, was recognized for its Exceptional Merit for Historic Preservation. It was constructed in 1883 by the grandson of one of Atlanta’s founding fathers. Vacated in 1970, the house later served as a drug rehabilitation center and then the Mansion Restaurant for about two decades before being abandoned again in 2000 after a fire. In 2005, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) bought the property and completely restored the 4,300 square-foot mansion, including all interior and exterior detailing. Read more about how SCAD came to the mansion's rescue here.

Open to SCAD students and the public since 2008, Ivy Hall hosts a variety of events. It also serves as a gracious guest house for visiting scholars, classroom space for SCAD’s writing degree programs, a resource and event space for the community and as a monument to Atlanta’s past and to the importance of preserving the region’s history. 

Other winners included: 

2012 Development of Excellence Award

Historic Fourth Ward Park

Historic Fourth Ward Park’s natural beauty and appealing public spaces belie the fact that it is a large, complex civil engineering and infrastructure project. Built on 17 neglected acres of mostly contaminated soil and invasive plants, the park’s centerpiece is a stormwater retention pond that reduces neighborhood flooding, relieves local sewer systems and features a fountain through which stormwater enters the pond. The park boasts a skate park designed by the local skating community and an amphitheater for formal performances or informal gatherings. The park also preserves and maintains the environmental quality of the surrounding community and is located on the Atlanta Beltline trail system, adjacent to a variety of housing types and connected to the Ponce City Market development.

Great Place
Downtown Decatur

Besides committed leaders, engaged businesses and active residents, all great places have one thing in common: a long-term commitment to a vision for what they want to be. The City of Decatur made that commitment in the 1980s, and has been creating and perfecting its vision ever since. From an historic courthouse renovated into a meeting space and reception hall, to a mix of shopping, recreation, entertainment, dining and services, Decatur offers something for everyone. And it presents these offerings in a walkable, transit-connected downtown. Residents can walk and bike just about anywhere they want to go to enjoy Decatur’s quality schools, active night life and variety of housing options for the city’s young and old alike.

Development of Excellence, Livable Centers Initiative Achievement Award

Norcross Town Center

Few communities have done more with their Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) funds than the City of Norcross has since receiving its first LCI grant in 2001 with a vision of transforming its underutilized downtown into a walkable, livable community. One of the city’s first steps was to appoint a citizens’ Architectural Review Board and a Design Concept District to encourage design consistency and develop a unified plan for downtown. In recent years, the city converted an old church into a Cultural Arts and Community Center and turned a worn baseball field into a public space for concerts, events and public gatherings. Currently, sidewalks and bike facilities around downtown Norcross are being improved, as well.

 Exceptional Merit for Public-Private Partnership

College Park Gateway Center

With its origins as a railroad hub, transportation and logistics have always flowed through metro Atlanta’s veins. It’s fitting that the City of College Park, Grove Street Partners and the City of Atlanta’s Aviation Department created an innovative stop along the ATL Sky Train, which delivers travellers from the airport to its new rental car facilities. Gateway Center opens growth opportunities for the surrounding hospitality industry by providing new meeting, dining and lodging options. The infill development provides multi-modal connections for local businesses and residents with minimal impacts to the environment and leverages one of the Atlanta region’s most valuable economic resources, Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport to create future economic opportunities. 

Emory Point

Exceptional Merit for Infill Development

Emory Point is the first new retail project built in the Emory area in the last 20 years and is also the first partnership between Atlanta-based companies Cousins Properties and Gables Residential. Located on Clifton Road adjacent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a stone’s throw from Emory University, phase one of Emory Point features 443 EarthCraft-certified luxury apartments. The development will feature 80,000 square feet of retail and dining space, most of which is scheduled to open this year. Emory Point also includes a one-acre park, 25 acres of protected woodlands, a rainwater capture system, drought-resistant landscaping and electric vehicle charging stations, all accessible to nearby employers by foot, bike, car and transit.

JM Hurricane October 17, 2012 at 10:51 PM
This house is a National Treasure and a true gem in Atlanta. My hats off to SCAD and the people involved in restoring this amazing historic home.
Chris Murphy October 18, 2012 at 12:36 PM
The work on Ivy Hall started in 2005; it was completed in 2008. It was an incredible effort, down to removing and re-installing bricks. Artisans of all types and trades were brought in- and most of us were local. Do yourself a favor and visit the house.
Tammy October 18, 2012 at 06:45 PM
The Mansion restaurant had done a number of unfortunate "renovations" to the building before SCAD stepped in and saved it. Good job getting it back to the appropriate period!


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