By Collin Kelley
Downtown’s 102-year-old Imperial Hotel is getting yet another new lease on life thanks to Columbia Residential and National Church Residences. Renovation and construction has begun and the facility will re-open in late 2013 as a state of the art permanent supportive housing facility.
The renovation is expected to achieve LEED Gold certification for green building and sustainable construction. The historic renovation will follow guidelines of the City of Atlanta Landmarks Commission as well as the National Parks Service.
Columbia Residential and National Church Residences worked with the state of Georgia and the City of Atlanta throughout 2011 to purchase the property at 355 Peachtree St. from a court receivership.
“We are taking out all of the old walls and interior systems and really starting from scratch on the interior,” said Jim Grauley, President of Columbia Residential. “Once we complete that, we’ll work on the outside by replacing windows cleaning and really brightening up the building.”
Previous Imperial residents who were relocated to replacement housing last year, will have the priority opportunity to return to the renovated facility. The renovated building will contain 90 fully renovated units, with improved floor plan configuration, fully updated leasing and management offices, resident amenities and spaces for case managers and service providers and onsite security.
Grauley said there would be a fitness center, meeting room, business center with computers and talks were ongoing about having a nurse’s station and periodical medical professionals onsite for healthcare as well.
Built in 1910 and on the National Register of Historic Places, the Imperial was considered a leading Atlanta hotel through the 1940s. It provided accommodations for the road crew of the Metropolitan Opera for 40 years and is notorious for the nightclubs it hosted from the 1950s through the early 1970s. The hotel closed around 1980 and sat vacant until the construction boom around the 1996 Olympics, when it was redeveloped to provide affordable housing, particularly to residents with special needs.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

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