The New Life of the old Atlanta Imperial Hotel

The New Life of the old Atlanta Imperial Hotel
11:18 PM, Jan 13, 2012
Jeff Hullinger

Atlanta–For the last two years, the historic Imperial Hotel off Peachtree Street has been in receivership. The building is eight stories tall and has been saved in a joint partnership between Atlanta based Columbia Residential and non-profit National Church Residences. Together they have struck an agreement with the state and the city to purchase the building.

Since 1996, The Imperial has provided for a place to live for former homeless men and women. Most are fighting to stay off the street and are trying to piece together a life out of chaos. It’s not easy but this announcement Friday is good news for those in need.

The hotel has had a full history. The Imperial was completed in 1911. That’s a year before the Titanic Sunk, And the legendary season where the “the Georgia Peach” Ty Cobb bested “Shoeless” Joe Jackson for the AL batting title.

“We think in 5 years- – it will be operating at its peak and really sustainable for the long term”  says Jim Grauley, the President and Chief Operating Officer of Columbia Residential.

The goal is to keep the historic preservation while updating the landmark character with 21st century standards.

“It’s on the national registry, it’s on the city’s register of historic structures and so we are working very close with the city and the state making sure this is done in a way to protect the integrity of the bldg,” says Mr. Grauley.

As you look at the Imperial Hotel along Peachtree Street, You can’t help but to wonder what this place was like 80 or 90 years ago. It was from all accounts the Hyatt or Marriott of its day. Businessmen stayed here as they plotted and planned Development looking north from downtown.

Inside on the first floor, the tudor arched stone fireplace is still there with the IH insignia. And the “I” for Imperial on the crown molding around the concrete ceiling.  The hotel is also famous for having a speakeasy during prohibition. You could find some very colorful Atlanta characters enjoying illegal libations

“That’s part of the history of Atlanta and why it’s vital to preserve our historic structures and particularly one like this that’s repurposed for housing,” stated Mr. Grauley

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