A 1930s former hotel building in Midtown with rumored ties to author Margaret Mitchell is now gone with the wind.
Five months after property owner Dewberry Capital filed demolition plans for the former Northwood Hotel on 17th Street, crews have moved in and razed the two-story structure, as evidenced by the pile of rubble this week between West Peachtree and Peachtree streets.
The 14 17th Street building was built in the 1930s at the southern end of Pershing Point, first serving as apartments and then the Northwood Hotel. In its later years, it was office space, but it’s been left abandoned and in disrepair since Dewberry Capital, one of Atlanta’s more controversial development firms, acquired the lot more than a decade ago.
As chronicled on these pages in November, a retired City of Vancouver Police Department sergeant named Hal Hamilton had stumbled on evidence in family history records and a memoir that the Northwood Hotel could have been the secret writing place of Mitchell, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gone With the Wind.
But that ultimately had no bearing on the building’s preservation status.
Dewberry acquired the 1.7-acre lot for $6 million in 2011. The company is led by former Georgia Tech quarterback John Dewberry, whom national business media have coined “Atlanta’s Emperor of Empty Lots.”
Dewberry officials came before the Midtown Development Review Committee in October with plans to tear down the former hotel and leave the space empty, like the rest of the grassy lot. The building had become a magnet for trespassers, was beyond repair, and was generally a nuisance, according to Dewberry’s team.
Today, the empty section of Pershing Point—now emptier—is bookended by major investments from high-rise developers. Those include the recently finished Midtown Union complex to the west, and Greystar’s under-construction, 33-story apartment tower next door to the south.
Fun fact: Prior to the Great Recession, on Dewberry’s 17th Street lot, Atlanta-based developer Shailendra Group and the New York office of architects Skidmore Owings & Merrill had begun compiling designs for an InterContinental Hotels Group skyscraper. That project would have possibly climbed to 70 stories—eclipsing Bank of America Plaza as the city’s tallest building—but it was stalled by the recession and tumbled into foreclosure.
Dewberry scooped up the 1.3-acre property for about 1/3 of what previous owners had paid.
And now, grass.
Follow us on social media:
• Midtown news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)