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Vehicles 5, Fixed objects 1

6 Feb

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A little enhancement to yesterday’s AJC story about the morning power outage in Midtown:

A few minutes before 9:30 a.m. there was a muffled explosion, quickly followed by another explosion, which was accompanied by a reddish-yellow flash of light. Believe it or not, I didn’t think much of it. It had been raining for two days. When I lived in Peachtree Hills, there was a transformer that could be relied upon to blow up in a shower of silver-blue sparks at least a couple of times whenever it rained for more than 24 hours.

But when I looked outside about 10 minutes later, the street was blocked by three police cars, a fire truck and an ambulance to the south. A large, black Chevrolet pickup truck with a utility pole right in the middle of its hood was straddling the curb to the north. There were also two small trees missing.

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Seems like yesterday

29 Jan

Trash tree

Was Christmas really just a little more than a month ago?

This tree appeared on the ground next to the trash can Tuesday night. Wednesday night it had migrated about 10 yards down the sidewalk. Thursday it looked like this. Last night it was gone.

It’s possible that the Department of Public Works picked it up but there’s just no telling around here. I won’t be surprised if it’s back tomorrow.

Well, this ought to be interesting.

8 Dec

The new owners of the building now occupied by the men’s shelter at Peachtree and Pine are scheduled to have a hearing on their motion to evict the shelter from the space Thursday, according to the Midtown Ponce Security Alliance.

Thursday’s docket isn’t posted online at Fulton Superior Court’s site yet, but should be there Wednesday evening. As of right now, the hearing is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 9 in courtroom 5E, according to MPSA’s announcement.

Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless appears to be carrying on as normal in the space, though, even opening a coffee shop on the Peachtree Street side of the building late last week.

Again, I’ll believe it when I see it. Evicting homeless people from a shelter in December is not going to play well politically. The shelter’s management isn’t likely to go quietly and  another NPR story won’t be far behind if the eviction goes forward. The wheels are turning, but it’s anyone’s guess how far they move right now.

YAF exhibition at the Central Library: Come for the photos, stay for the furniture

11 Nov

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I returned some library books on time last week, just to see what it was like. As if that wasn’t enough novelty, the exhibition of selected submissions from the Young Architects Forum‘s  “Envisioning Breuer” photography competition was in the first floor exhibit space. It’s been up since Oct. 14, but it runs until Nov. 28.

The Central Library is not an easy building to photograph, but there were a lot of really creative, surprising images there. Also surprising was the Room and Board furniture that’s been moved in, making the exhibition area it more of a “place” than just a space.

The presence of appealing, modern furniture in that space does a couple of things:

  • In addition to a placemaking function, the furniture suggests that the people who chose it care about the kind of experience that the people using it have at the library – not a feeling that’s conveyed in much of the rest of the building.
  • It makes the rest of the library appear even more shoddily furnished than it already does. Continue reading

Imperial, overstretched

10 Nov

The development company that renovated the Imperial Hotel is in pretty dire straights, which could be very bad news for the people living there.

Imperial Hotel - Peachtree at Ivan Allen

According to Monday’s AJC, Progressive Redevelopment Inc. is in default on loans for six properties, the largest of which is the 120-unit apartment building at Peachtree and Ivan Allen. It’s scheduled to be sold at auction in January.

“Most of the money to rehabilitate the Imperial — about $8 million — came from low interest loans, tax credits and grants from Atlanta and the state. About $2 million is still owed to the city and the state, most of which will be lost in foreclosure.”

PRI specialized in developing residential properties for low-income residents and more than 1000 families stand to lose their homes because of the defaults, the AJC said.

“The company, ranked by the state as Georgia’s largest nonprofit developer, built or refurbished 38 projects with 4,000 apartments in 21 years, most in metro Atlanta.

PRI and a few partners owe more than $74 million and PRI is in default on at least 10 loans worth $8 million, including $5 million in government-backed loans.”

PRI already lost financial assistance from the state’s Department of Community Affairs earlier this year. DCA was the developer’s primary funding source.

It’s hard to decide whether to be concerned about the Imperial being sold. Is anyone really just itching to get his hands on a 99-year-old building that would require another renovation and an indeterminate number of years to draw profitable tenants?

It also seems unlikely that neither the state nor the city will step in before the worst happens. Allowing the low-income and formerly homeless residents of that building to be evicted would reflect badly on the state and would do nothing for Atlanta’s reputation as less-than-adept at addressing homelessness.

Finally, the Imperial sits just a block south of the Pine Street shelter, which was foreclosed on more than six months ago. Attorneys for that building’s new owner are still trying to wrestle it away from Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless. The city is already defending itself against a lawsuit in which MATFH accused it of helping to orchestrate the foreclosure, so the mayor isn’t likely to want the city to be cast – again – as indifferent toward very poor people by allowing the Imperial’s residents to be put on the street.

But money to keep any of PRI’s properties afloat has to come from somewhere, and the bottom of the city’s and state’s budget barrels might have already been scraped. Measures that were unthinkable just a few years ago have had to be taken in plenty of other instances, so things could definitely go either way.

Scene Cafe

25 Oct

Scene Cafe south viewAnyone know whether Scene Cafe is still on schedule for a partial opening in November?

What Now, Atlanta reported in mid-summer that the cafe portion of the cafe/lounge/office space would open next month. Next month starts in a week and I still can’t find a Web site for the place.

Scene Cafe southeast viewThese photos were taken during the last week of July and the place still looks more or less exactly like this on the outside. Could be that they’re waiting for some custom glazing for that C-shaped window on the east side. Scene Cafe east viewYou’d think the parking lot would have been paved by now, or that some painting might have been done, though.

That corner is in dire need of some life, so let’s hope the neighborhood didn’t scare the owner off already.

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