Constitution Building

What’s up with the Atlanta Constitution Building? Good question.

Recent developments suggest that implementation of a planned Lovejoy-Atlanta commuter rail service may be in jeopardy. As a result, construction of a new multi-modal transit facility in Downtown Atlanta may also be delayed or canceled.

A January 12th Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) article “Lovejoy rail backers lose DOT seats,” details political maneuvering resulting in the loss of two members of the state Transportation Board who had once voted to support the Lovejoy rail line. “Commissioners veer rail plan off path, “ a January 4th AJC report details the Clayton County Commission’s reversal regarding an earlier decision to cover the Lovejoy rail line’s estimated annual operating deficit of $4 million for 50 years.

Current multi-modal terminal plans require demolition of the historic Atlanta Constitution Building (see photo above from early 2004) to make way for a minimal rail platform (described as “bare bones” in the local press). The funded portion of the project does not include accommodation for AMTRAK service or construction of a new bus terminal. Plans for this terminal were developed with no consideration for adaptation of the Atlanta Constitution Building – even though the building is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

In late 2005, the City of Atlanta voted to transfer ownership of this property to the Georgia Department of Transportation for demolition.

Ignoring Georgia’s apparent aversion to mass-transit for a moment, what do these developments have to do with the fate of the Atlanta Constitution Building? It is a difficult question to answer. According to tax records, it appears the city has not transferred the property to the Georgia Department of Transportation as of January 2007.

The building remains vacant, with no indication of construction work – for demolition or otherwise. It is deteriorating at a rapid pace due to the lack of proper roof, numerous openings offering no protection from rain, and evidence of continued vandalism due to its unsecured condition.

Read more about the building and multi-modal transit plans here.