A prestigious photography gallery plans to make a very short move across East Shadowlawn Avenue from one house-style building to another, according to a snapshot of a design presented in a recent community meeting.

Jackson Fine Art is currently housed in a Buckhead Village building at 3115 East Shadowlawn that dates to 1934, according to Fulton County property records. The gallery and collector-advising business was started 30 years ago by Jane Jackson, who later sold the business to become director of superstar musician Elton John’s enormous art-photograph collection. 

An architectural drawing of the front of the new Jackson Fine Art building planned at 3122 East Shadowlawn Ave. as filed with the city.

According to its website, Jackson Fine Art’s clients now include such institutions as the Art Institute of Chicago and New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and such corporations as Delta Air Lines and the Coca-Cola Company. 

Now the gallery aims to move into a new building at 3122 East Shadowlawn made in a similar, house-like style. The plan, which would require some city zoning permission, was presented at a Feb. 3 meeting of the Development Review Committee of Special Public Interest District 9, a local zoning area.

No one from the gallery attended the SPI-9 meeting and there was no discussion of the reason for the short move. In response to questions after the meeting, someone at the gallery replied in an email, “Thank you for your interest. We are excited to let the community know about our plans when the timing is more appropriate, but are not interested at this time.” 

However, property records show that the gallery is a tenant in its current space — owned by the large real estate firm Selig Enterprises — while designers of the new project say the gallery would own it.

The 3122 East Shadowlawn property currently contains a one-story, mixed residential and commercial building dating to 1930, according to property records. That existing structure is “an eyesore for the street” and saving it is “not an option… It needs to go,” said project architect Mike Hopkins at the SPI-9 meeting.

Replacing it would be a two-story, wood-frame building faced with brick and roofed with cedar shakes. Five parking spaces would be located in the rear — fewer than the 10 allowed under zoning, according to the project team. A bicycle rack is also in the plan.

The team is seeking an administrative variance to reduce the window-surface requirement on the front of the building from 65% to 37%. “Since this is an art gallery, we’re trying to control light,” Hopkins told the DRC.

There was some confusion as to which streetscape and sidewalk standards applied under zoning, but Hopkins and other team members said they are open to building whatever is required and would fit best with the rest of the street. 

The DRC had no objections to the project, which now enters the city zoning review process with no specific timeline.

–Kevin C. Madigan contributed

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.