A plan to demolish a historic home on Church Street in Marietta will soon become a reality, as the new owner wants to construct a new building to accommodate two restaurants and possibly a medical office.
BAMM Realty, the new owner and developer, is moving ahead with its plan to tear down the Fowler House at 789 Church Street, which is next to WellStar Kennestone Hospital. It will be replaced by a commercial building.
Trevor Beemon, the executive director of Cobb Landmarks, said his organization was unaware of the demolition plans until recently. He said many residents have been upset that the developer plans to tear down the nearly 100-year-old home that once belonged to a prominent Marietta family.
Beemon previously saw for-sale signs on the property, so he reached out to the owners, who told the group the house had been sold. All of this happened within a two-month time span, Beemon said.
“By the time we got it on our radar that something may be happening, it was pretty much a done deal,” he added.
Originally built in 1926, Fowler House was a private residence until it was converted into office space in the 1960s. Although the home’s original facade remained, it has been used as an office since that time, most recently by Peoples Financial.
“We didn’t realize it had been sold because the sign was still up in front of the house,” Beemon said.
Michael Sunshine of BAMM Realty said the restaurants that are planning to open in the new building by the end of the year are McAlister’s Deli and The Poke Company. Adam Leiber, a partner with Sunshine on the development, added they explored all options for the old house before settling on demolition.
When they surveyed people around the neighborhood, Leiber said they were told the area was in an underserved retail market. Leiber also said potential tenants expressed hesitation about moving into an older building.
“The decision was ultimately made to redevelop the property to keep up with the ever-changing community around it,” he said.
In advance of the demolition, Beemon said Cobb Landmarks was allowed to go through Fowler House and salvage items such as windows, shutters, solid wood doors and light fixtures that could be used in future projects. They also extensively photographed the house as documentation that it existed. Cobb Landmarks will use some of the salvaged items as part of its new interpretive center that will open at the William Root House Museum.
Beemon said Cobb Landmarks is using the loss of the Fowler House as a chance to educate people about historic preservation. He said he will continue those efforts to save other historic properties around the city, which can be viewed at https://www.cobblandmarks.com/priorities.
Beemon said Marietta has several hundred historic homes, six of which were built in the antebellum period. He also said the city has about five districts registered with the National Register of Historic Places. The Church-Cherokee District, he said, has about 120 properties on the register. Unfortunately, Fowler House is located just outside the district.
“if it was in the district, it could have been demolished anyway, but it would have taken a lot longer process to get permission to tear it down,” he said of the house.
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