Olympia rises again

Many people are still oblivious to the old, discolored cream building that holds up the legendary Coca-Cola sign mounted on the rooftop that greets and has greeted Atlanta-bound travelers for many years.

This is the Olympia Building, which, according to Curbed Atlanta, may see renovation and a Walgreens in the future.

Katherine Hankins, associate director at Georgia State with an expertise in urban geography, said placing a Walgreens in the space could be beneficial for the downtown community, especially the students.

However due to the urbanization of the city in the past few years, she said she is not certain of the overall outcome.

“Sixty or 70 years ago it would have been completely normal to have a Walgreens,” said Hankins, referring to the sub-urbanization of the city of Atlanta. “I understand it used to be a shopping arcade years and years ago. Having it be a destination for a kind of service for the students would be an improvement.”

Although hidden by its overall appearance and lack of renovation, this building is one of the few buildings in Atlanta that has survived the urbanization of the city in the last few decades.

The building was built by the architectural firm of Ivey and Cook in the mid 1930s during the depression era, and since then, has been used as place of business to many stores such as the showroom for Wormser Hats (older tenet) and, more recently, 5 Points Sports.

When asked what would be an ideal establishment beneficial to students, Professor Hankins said an extra study space would be ideal.

“In terms of people living downtown, people certainly need places like grocery stores and pharmacies and such, but for students that are passing through, maybe a nice coffee shop or something for extra study or meeting space. In terms of a long term re-modelization strategy, the best is to have some kind of business that provides jobs…not just low-wage jobs,” Hankins said.

Students Michelle Watson and Andre Harris explained why they believe more food places would be a better option for the building rather than opening a Walgreens.

“I do not feel like it would be beneficial to students, because there is a CVS not even a block away… More food places would be nice, something, maybe student related… like another book store,” Watson said.

“I don’t think it would be a horrible idea that they would put a Walgreens there; however, if there is a CVS and a Publix down the street, it may not be the best idea because you have other places where you can go for the same things… Maybe putting a food place there, or something like Trader Joes there so student’s could have healthier options,” Harris said.

On the other hand, student Aja Cooksey welcomed the idea with a smile.

“Put a Walgreens there! There is a CVS everywhere,” Cooksey said.