Condo association wants to tear down historic Peachtree Rd building

ATLANTA — One of the last old homes on Peachtree Road in Atlanta may soon be demolished.

The house on Peachtree near Lindbergh Drive has remained standing when virtually every other one has given way to high-rise condos and apartments. The Randolph Lucas House was built in 1924 by a descendant of Thomas Jefferson. It was one of many stately homes that once lined Peachtree.
With its future in jeopardy, preservationists have pledged to fight the proposal by a condo association to tear it down.

"We have so few remnants along Peachtree Road and what it looked like, and it's important to remember where we came from and celebrate the history of our community," said Erica Danylchak, the executive director of the Buckhead Heritage Society.

The house used to sit where a condo now stands. In 1998, Atlanta officials allowed the condo developer to start building in the spot if he agreed to move the house to the southern end of the property and preserve it.

The developer who agreed to move the house later went into foreclosure, and another took over. The Buckhead Condo Association, which inherited the responsibility of maintaining the house, said it is too expensive.

The group's lawyer also said the two-story brick house is an accident waiting to happen.

"The real issue is that it's unsafe. We've obtained an engineering report that says it's unsafe," said M. Hakim Hilliard.
But preservationists disagree. Danylchak told Channel 2's Diana Davis a city engineer found the house to be structurally sound.  

"It certainly needs some work, but it's not ready for the wrecking ball," she said.

Preservationists believe the condo association shouldn't break the original agreement.

"This condo association inherited a big problem and the cost of rehabilitating it is prohibitive and unreasonable under the circumstances," Hilliard told Davis.

In March, the city turned down the association's attempt to demolish the house, but the group will go before the city again next month to appeal. Condo owners and preservationists alike said they won't give up the fight.