Plans Filed To Demolish Nearly 100-Year-Old Highland Inn

The historic building, established in 1927, awaits approval from the City for demolition. Its Owners earlier this year fought against turning Poncey-Highland into a Historic District.
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A permit has been filed with the City of Atlanta to demolish the nearly 100-year-old Highland Inn & Ballroom Lounge building, at 644 North Highland Avenue NE. The firm hired to expedite the demolition filing confirmed its authenticity with What Now Atlanta Friday saying approval has been delayed due to the historic nature of the building. 

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It’s unclear why property owners are looking to demolish the four-story structure or what might be built it its place. Calls and emails to the Inn Friday went unanswered.

In March 2020, the Poncey-Highland neighborhood where the Highland Inn is located voted to create the Poncey-Highland Historic District. Highland Inn owner Thomas Carmichael, who also owns the North High Ridge Apartments, urged his tenants to vote against the plan, according to Curbed Atlanta. He warned that a historic district would raise rent and complicate building maintenance.

“[Carmichael] has worked very, very hard to keep his rents low and affordable, and that’s obviously a hot-button issue right now,” David Metzger, an attorney for Carmichael, told Curbed. “A historic district would make it more costly to do business.”

The plan proposed by the neighborhood had several changes that differentiate itself with traditional historic districts. For one, it allows upper-story additions to historic commercial and residential properties as long as they keep within the aesthetic of the community. However, modern additions are allowed towards the rear of the building.

These plans have been in talks since 2019 when a group of residents started the historic districting process to push against “uncontrolled development,” as the AJC reported. Back then, Carmichael was still against the plans. 

“I want [the zoning] open-ended because we don’t know what the future holds,” Carmichael told the AJC. However, at the time, a resident told the AJC that his concern extends beyond Carmichael, saying “I’m not afraid of Carmichael’s development. I’m afraid of who he might sell to.”

This story is developing.

Paul Kim

Paul Kim is a senior at NYU studying Journalism and Public Policy with a minor in Food Studies. A Korean-Taiwanese American born and raised in Atlanta, Paul holds a special appreciation for the diverse food city that Atlanta has become in the last few years. Paul especially loves Korean food because they don't use cilantro in their dishes. Paul hates cilantro.
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7 months ago

Oh no, what a shame!
Gonna throw up some more cookie cutter luxury BS there.

7 months ago

WHAT. How do we stop this from happening.

7 months ago
Reply to  Adriano

You can’t. The same developers who are building the townhomes next to Manuel’s Tavern are going to develop this site as well.

Midtown Bob
7 months ago
Reply to  MidtownMark

Are you just making this up midtown mark? None of this is true

7 months ago
Reply to  Midtown Bob

Have you seen his other posts? Yes, he’s making it up.

7 months ago

This city really doesn’t care at all about it’s history. Or having any character.

7 months ago
Reply to  eRosewater

Be careful what you ask for. All history is being replaced, not just the history you don’t like.

7 months ago
Reply to  CLR846

Hmmm, interesting comment.

7 months ago

Its either so deep I don’t get it or just nonsense… and I’m leaning toward the latter.   If I were “asking for” anything, it’s that we care about our history so we can preserve significant structures which would significantly enhance our city’s urban character. And I see no reason being careful in asking for that as it has been done competently in numerous other municipalities throughout the world to great effect.   And to re-phrase the second sentence without the double negative… ‘even the parts of history that I like are at risk of being replaced?’ Yeah, that’s exactly… Read more »

7 months ago
Reply to  eRosewater

My guess is that the commenter was referring to Confederate statues/National memorials/Military bases/bridges etc…
Just to be clear, my saying it was interesting doesn’t mean I necessarily agree or disagree with the commenter.
And I completely agree with you about preserving structures that enhance our city’s urban character.

7 months ago

I hear you, and that’s exactly what I was worried about. I’m just hoping buildings don’t get caught up in this debate. Monuments and names are symbols and can be easily replaced or filed away in a history book/museum. Buildings absolutely cannot. Anti-preservationists always present re-development as a way to ditch the past and move on to a brighter, shinier future. I’m just hoping Atlanta doesn’t fall for that line for the thousandth time.

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