The vacant Kodak building at 300 Ponce de Leon Ave. was damaged by fire July 25. Atlanta Fire & Rescue is investigating the cause. (Photos by Keith Pepper)

The Atlanta Fire & Rescue Department is investigating the cause of a July 25 fire that damaged the historic Kodak building on Ponce de Leon Avenue. No one was injured.

Atlanta Fire spokesperson Alyssa Richardsons said the department received a call about a structure fire at Ponce de Leon and Argonne avenues in Midtown about 9:30 p.m.

“Firefighters arrived within five minutes to find moderate smoke and fire showing in the front of a two-story commercial structure and called a working fire at 9:38 p.m.,” Richardson said in an email.

Firefighters were able to put the fire out using a defensive attack, or by staying outside the vacant building to battle the flames, according to Richardson. Video footage of the fire scene shows some firefighters on the building’s roof near the renowned Kodak sign.

The Kodak building is next to the former Atlanta Eagle gay bar building that appears to have suffered no fire damage. No information was provided by fire officials on the extent of damages to the Kodak building.

In 2021, the Georgia Trust for Historical Preservation placed the Kodak building and Atlanta Eagle on its 10 Places in Peril list.

“Originally constructed as expansive private residences in 1898 and 1905 respectively, the Atlanta Eagle and Kodak Buildings reflect over a century of urban evolution and social history in the city of Atlanta,” according to the Georgia Trust for Historical Preservation.

The City of Atlanta designated the facades of the Kodak and Atlanta Eagle buildings as historic landmarks, but experts said more protections were needed to save the buildings from demolition.

Fire damage at the Kodak building at 300 Ponce de Leon Ave.

The Kodak Building was originally constructed as an Italian Renaissance house but underwent a commercial alteration in the 1940s with the opening of Star Photo. In the 1950s, the building became a Kodak store, and the iconic Kodak sign was erected on its roof. The building has been vacant for many years except for a short stint as the headquarters for Shirley Franklin when she ran for mayor.

The Kodak and Atlanta Eagle buildings, at 300 and 306 Ponce de Leon Ave., were sold in 2014 to Aly Management Group LLC for $1.9 million, according to Fulton property records.

In 2016, plans were announced to redevelop the Kodak and Atlanta Eagle buildings into a medical office. Those plans did not pan out. The Atlanta Eagle finally was forced to close its space at 306 Ponce de Leon Ave. in 2020 after more than 30 years. The bar reopened in 2021 at Ansley Square Mall.

The Kodak building stands across the street from the iconic Krispy Kreme Doughnut Shop that was gutted by fire in February 2021. Atlanta Fire officials deemed the fire arson. Another fire broke out at the Krispy Kreme in July 2021. Construction of a new Krispy Kreme building started earlier this year.

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.