Historic building damaged by wreck deemed unsafe

A historic building in southwest Atlanta has been deemed unsafe, possibly due to a fatal crash that slammed into the structure in November, city officials said Tuesday.

Located on Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard near the intersection of Central Avenue, the building constructed in the late 19th century to house St. Stephen’s Missionary Baptist Church had recently been taken over by Museum Bar. On Saturday, construction workers were erecting scaffolding to make repairs when the building became noticeably unstable, Carlos Campos, city of Atlanta spokesman, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“The brick veneer of the tower started to shift rather dramatically,” Campos said Tuesday afternoon. “They immediately became alarmed, and they left and called 911.”

Police officers and firefighters were dispatched to the structure, along with building inspectors who determined the building was unsafe, Campos said. The building’s owners were issued a “notice of unsafe building” and instructed to submit a plan to correct the problems, he said.

“We are inspecting the building daily until we’re satisfied that it’s rendered safe,” Campos said.

The building has not been condemned, as was previously reported.

In November, the building was damaged when it was hit by both a Gwinnett County transit bus and a FedEx truck that crashed, killing the driver of the FedEx truck. It's not known if the building's current instability is solely related to that crash.

Some lanes closures are possible in the area until the building is deemed safe.