Monday, August 27, 2012

Wanna buy downtown's Olympia Building — the one near Woodruff Park with the Coca-Cola sign?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 4:51 PM

23 Peachtree Street
Fresh Loaf readers who have daydreamed about owning the Olympia Building, the two-story landmark at the intersection of Peachtree and Marietta streets with the Coca-Cola sign on top, you're in luck.

The Georgia Building Authority today announced it's seeking bids for the circa. 1937 building designed by Ivey and Crook, the same architects responsible for the historic — and endangered — Crum & Forster Building in Tech Square. According to "Atlanta's Lasting Landmarks," a trusty if outdated manual published in the late 1980s (and parts of which are available on the city's website) by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission, the Depression-era Olympia's construction was considered a "signal of the beginning of new commercial growth and development in Atlanta."

The site was originally the location of Atlanta's first post office and, in following years, became one of the city's most well-known corners. Via Atlanta's Lasting Landmarks:

In years gone by, it was one of Atlanta's favorite meeting places, a place to "hang-out," gossip, grab a magazine and a "coke", or a ride home on a passing streetcar. As the automobile became popular and Five-Points became the center of Atlanta's growing metropolis, people stopped loitering at this corner and started driving by it. Tom Pitts, owner of the popular soda fountain located at the site of the Olympia Building, stated to the Atlanta Constitution when closing his store in the mid-1920s after almost three decades of operation, "Hundreds used to stop; now thousands pass." What had once been a stopping place in a pedestrian-oriented downtown, was now an automotive reckoning point in the heart of Atlanta: Five Points. While Tom Pitts' building made way for the Olympia Building in 1935-1936, the new structure maintained the site orientation and scale of the previous buildings.

The building was granted "exterior landmark status" in 1990 but don't let that frighten you off. Boyd Coons, the executive director of the Atlanta Preservation Center, tells CL that you'll just have to first go through the UDC and promise you won't change the character of the building's facade. Here's all the bid materials you'll need. No word if the sign's a part of the deal.

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