By John Schaffner
The Southern Center for International Studies, which has been an Atlanta institution since 1962, has sold its stately headquarters at 320 West Paces Ferry Road as the center continues to change its mission to meet changing global needs of Atlanta’s leading businesses.
The historic Buckhead mansion, which was designed by Atlanta architect Philip Trammell Shutze in 1929 for James J. Goodrum and completed in 1932, was sold to the Watson-Brown Foundation of Thomson, Ga., for $3.6 million. Most of that went to cover the center’s debts and mortgage on the house, which was originally listed for $4.995 million.
The Watson-Brown Foundation plans to restore the residence and eventually turn it into a “house museum” that will be available to civic organizations and the community. The foundation also will maintain a small Atlanta office in the house.
Peter White, who with his wife Julia founded the Southern Center for International Studies and has run it all these years, told the Buckhead Reporter last year that the center was going through a reorganization of its mission and objectives and no longer needed the stately house on West Paces Ferry near the Governor’s Mansion.
The mission that the center has been most recognized for over the years — promoting international awareness and understanding in Atlanta’s corporate community — may now end up becoming part of the offerings of Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business.
Peter and Julia White plan to continue to work on their longtime efforts to promote global studies for K-12 students. They have developed the curriculum materials and are now seeking funding for workshops for middle and high school students.
The house on West Paces Ferry no longer was necessary for the new mission of the center, according to
White. And, he added that there were tremendous costs associated with the operation of that house.