Google+ Georgia On My Mind: Stop the Demolition: The Randolph-Lucas Mansion

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Stop the Demolition: The Randolph-Lucas Mansion

Let me just say at the outset of this that IF I ever come into a good sum of money….a million or more…..I will spend the majority of it investing in historical properties by preserving and restoring them and then rent them out to various businesses. 

I’m serious….

I’m so tired of seeing building after building ignored, abandoned, or pushed aside for progress especially in this day and age when we have so many commercial properties sitting languishing with a for sale or lease sign .

Growing up in a suburb of Atlanta as I did my family went downtown quite often and that included motoring up and down the city’s famed Peachtree Street.  Many buildings grabbed my attention as a child, but I always hoped Mom would drive just a little bit slower as we passed the Randolph-Lucas House at 2924 Peachtree Street.

Randolph-Lucas Mansion on Peachtree

The Georgian style home was designed by P. Thornton Marye, in 1924.   He is also known for designing the Atlanta Terminal Station, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, the Fox Theater, and the Southern Bell building at Ivy Street.

The home’s original owner was Hollins Nicolas Randolph.    He had Marye design the home to be an exact copy of his ancestoral home in Albermarle, Viriginia called Edgehill   You see…..Hollins Nicolas Randolph was one of THE Virginia Randolphs and……he was the great, great grandson of Thomas Jefferson, writer of the Declaration of Independence and our third president among other things.  

To say Mr. Randolph was connected is an understatement….and he wasn’t JUST an attorney.  He served on numerous boards and committees and was general counsel for the Federal Reserve Bank.  

Randolph was also heavily involved with the Stone Mountain Memorial Association and authored the Congressional Act directing the minting of five million Stone Mountain coins.  These coins were commemorative in nature and were intended to raise money for the memorial.   You can see one here.  The bill Randolph authored was signed by President Calvin Coolidge and called for up to five million half dollars to be issued.

Georgia wasn’t his only focus.  Randolph was the counsel for Boulder Dam, the Cape Cod Canal in Massachusetts and the St. Andrews Bay Development Company.    He also represented William Randolph Hearst’s interests in the South. 

Gee, if only the walls of that home could talk, right?

Mr. Randolph sold the home to move to Washington D.C. and when he did the Lucas family moved in.   They own several theaters around Atlanta, and later their daughter would marry into the Storey family.  You may recognize that name as one belonging to another family of theater owners. 

Lately, the house has been in the news because an application for demolition has been made by the 2500 Peachtree Condominium Association, and as this AJC article advises….for the second time in six years, the Randolph-Lucas House is facing possible demolition.  

Preservationist groups contend the condominium homeowners association s trying to renege on a deal struck 15 years ago, to preserve [one of the last mansions left on Peachtree Street from a bygone era.]

The condominium association applied for a permit to demolish the home a few months ago stating the home was “deteriorating and dangerous.”     They even have an engineer who agrees with them.

However, in 1997 when the condominiums were in the process of being developed an agreement was struck with the Atlanta City Council.   The condos could be built, BUT the mansion had to be preserved since it’s on the city’s list of historic properties.     The home was actually moved to the southern edge of the property so the condos could be built, and the developer agreed to preserve the mansion.

Since then there has been constant incremental steps by the condo association to work towards the demolition of the home.

Preservationists agree there are some structural issues, but not anything that would warrant a demolition.    The condo association attorney states he is only trying to rid the city of a menace.

A menace?

Even former Atlanta mayor and Buckhead Coalition President, Sam Massell has gotten involved by sending a letter proposing a solution stating, “I believe we can find or create a Foundation that would receive ownership (and accept compliance with the original zoning agreement), which should reduce the taxation on the condo owners.   The plan would be for The Foundation to operate this house as an Atlanta Mayor’s Mansion – not for residential occupancy, but for ceremonial events.”

You know…..I always like Sam Massell.   I think this is a lovely idea, and so do many others.

The Buckhead Heritage Society President Wright Mitchell has also sent a letter advising Aderhold Properties, a company that specializes in historic reuse of homes, is interested in taking over the property and rehabilitating it.   Apparently the condo association rejected the idea.

So, there was a meeting last night .   I’m not going to reprint everything here when you can click through and read for yourself.   Basically, the condo association is adamant that the home is going to be demolished, and the Buckhead Heritage Society is looking for possible sites to move the home. 

There will be a meeting July 12th where the issue will be presented to the Atlanta Board of Zoning Adjustment.   

What this boils down to is the condo association decided from day one they didn't want to abide by the agreement and someone got their knickers in a wad became the house blocked their view from their living room .   The agreement was made to preserve the home….and they haven’t done that.   They are just willing to shuffle their responsibility off to others when they knew full well an agreement existed when they bought in to the development.

I certainly hope the demolition permit WON’T be issued.   


arrielle_p said...

"I certainly hope the demolition permit WON’T be issued." agreed in here. :)
condominium makati

Cebu IT Park Condo said...

I second the motion...:)


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