Protestors halt demolition of downtown historic building

After a number of protests from the preservation community The Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA) halted the tearing down of Trio Laundry Dry Cleaning building 20 Hilliard St., according to 11Alive.

Demolition was scheduled for the week of Aug. 25 but preservationists protested at the site every morning that week, according to 11Alive.

Jeff Dickerson, director of communications for AHA said a halt in demolition was caused by the outcry of the public.

“AHA bought the building six years ago to eventually remediate and demolish the property for the redevelopment of the community. During this time there were different leadership and board chair members who made the decision,” he said.

Dr. Maurice Hobson, assistant professor of African American studies at Georgia State and a member of the Atlanta preservationists community, said the protestors were not so much concerned with the actual building as they are with the preservation of the Sweet Auburn district.

“Currently the district is being revitalized through the trolley system being built by the city for the tourist economy,” Hobson said.

Hobson also said the Sweet Auburn was once deemed as “the richest Negro street in the world” and is situated in an area that is east of downtown, is blocks away from Georgia State and encompasses areas of Old Fourth Ward.

“Black businesses moved to their own segregated district, Auburn. Here, Alonzo Herndon’s Atlanta Mutual Life Insurance Company, the nation’s first black-owned insurance company; W. A. Scotts Atlanta Daily World, the nation’s first Black daily newspaper; the Poinciana Hotel, the city’s premiere Black hotel; the Peacock Theater, the city’s Black concert hall,” Johnson said.

Dickerson said there is soil damage in the building and right now the building is deemed unsafe.

“AHA is currently tring to figure out how much soil damage the building has. AHA is going to do it’s best to preserve and fix the building,” Dickerson said.