Mayor doesn’t rule out condemning Landmark

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The Downtown Mall around the Landmark was blocked off January 14 so firefighters could clear debris. Staff photo The Downtown Mall around the Landmark was blocked off January 14 so firefighters could clear debris. Staff photo

The skeletal Landmark Hotel officially went from eyesore to public safety hazard last week when a beam went through the roof of next-door CVS. “Debris blew off the building and could have killed someone,” said Mayor Mike Signer on “Wake-Up Call” January 17.

The city closed the area around the hotel January 14, and the fire department went in to secure a metal door frame that was swinging in the wind as the structure became an “active and ongoing public safety threat,” says Signer. The city now is exploring legal options that include condemnation, he says.

Ground broke on the Downtown Mall’s unwelcome landmark in 2008 for what was supposed to be a boutique hotel. Construction stopped in 2009, and owner Halsey Minor filed for bankruptcy a year later.

Atlanta developer John Dewberry picked up the property in 2012 for $6.25 million, and said he’d start work as soon as he finished a hotel in Charleston, South Carolina. That project didn’t begin until November 2014.

Signer is out of patience with Dewberry’s timetable and promises the issue will be resolved this year. City Council will discuss options to address blighted or unoccupied commercial properties in a closed session with legal counsel January 19. Says Signer, “The cheapest and most expedient thing is for the current owner to finish the damn thing.”