Condo tower to rise in Peachtree Hills with deal to save historic building from bookbinding
Plans for a luxurious 17-story condominium tower just north of the Peachtree Battle Mall appear to be moving forward with a deal to partially preserve a historic brick building that currently houses an antique market.
Dubbed the Peachtree Battle Condominiums, the 160-unit tower would stand at the southeast corner of Peachtree Road and Terrace Drive in Peachtree Hills. While redeveloping three existing lots, the project would preserve much of the 90-year-old building that currently houses Peachtree Battle Antiques and Interiors and once home to the iconic Oxford Too Bookstore, thanks to an agreement with the Peachtree Hills Civic Association.
On August 5, developer Kolter Urban obtained a zoning variance for the tower’s 212-and-a-half-foot height, which was the last city clearance needed before construction. The construction schedule is unclear, as Kolter did not respond to a request for comment.
The tower would occupy three lots numbered 2395, 2425 and 2451 Peachtree. Besides the antique store, they currently also contain the Covenant Collective, a shared office building run by Buckhead-based Christ Covenant Church, and the site of an already demolished Burger King.
According to plans filed with the City, the 160 condo units would consist of 11 one-bedroom units and 149 two-bedroom units. Residential space would total 319,481 square feet.
The building would have a four-level parking lot with 326 spaces accessible from a driveway on Terrace. Also in the mix would be 50 bicycle parking spaces.
The condo project replaces a failed five-year plan by another developer, Branch Properties, to build an apartment tower. The original plan was also 17 stories tall, but shorter and denser at around 192 feet with 262 units and 485 parking spaces. During community presentations, Kolter said the taller height of the condo tower is necessary for the higher ceilings he sees as a strong selling point.
Branch’s original plan involved the demolition of the historic building located at 2395 Peachtree, known locally as “Bookbinding.” A house-like structure with a long square extension to the rear, the building dates from 1929 when it was the National Library Bindery Company, a sort of book factory. It was designed by A. Ten Eyck Brown, the architect behind the Fulton County Courthouse and Sweet Auburn Curb Market, among many other structures. The rare and second-hand Oxford Too Bookstore occupied the building in the 1990s, and more recently it housed a Smith & Hawken garden center before it became the antique market.
The threat of demolition earned bookbinding a place on the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2018 “Places in Danger” list. Under pressure from conservation advocate Laura Dobson, Peachtree Hills resident, as well as the civic association and Neighborhood Planning Unit B, Branch agreed to a deal to save about the front third of the building while demolishing part of the original structure and a newer addition. The written agreement applies to any successor developer, whether it is Kolter or anyone else if the condo tower collapses.
The agreement, the language of which was tightened by the civic association after the start of Kolter’s plan, says the surviving section of the binding will be preserved and maintained as a stand-alone building. The facade will not be altered and the building will benefit from historical restoration if damaged for any reason. Construction will be monitored through quarterly reports to the Atlanta Preservation Center, a nonprofit organization based in Grant Park.
APC executive director Dobson and David Yoakley Mitchell say the deal sets an important city-wide precedent for a developer agreeing to permanently preserve a historic structure and incorporate it into the plan.
“The preservation of this particular building is very important because it is really starting to set a new trend in how preservation is developing outside of its tradition… By keeping this building and having new construction around it, you are really telling the story. the history of that part of Atlanta, ”Mitchell said. “Let’s applaud the developers. They didn’t have to.
Mitchell said he was “unfortunate” that an agreement to save the entire building could not be reached. But, he said, it’s still a big win for a community whose members can remember its various uses over the decades. “The contribution of this building is so much more than just an award for the preservation of identity and architecture and all of those things,” he said. “It really is a metaphor for the courage of a communication to keep its past a component of its future.”
The antique market, unfortunately, will not be part of that future. She said she will have to find a new home as the partial demolition will not leave enough room for the 40 or so antique dealers operating there.
Kolter Urban is part of the Florida-based Kolter Group, known for their luxury condo projects. To take a peek at his work, neighbors don’t need to look any further than down the street at 2520 Peachtree, where Kolter’s Graydon Buckhead condo tower rises for an opening slated for early 2022. The Graydon is Kolter’s first project in the Atlanta market.