The Atlanta Business Chronicle broke the story today:
“The Perimeter hasn’t seen a potential land deal this big since Gerald D. Hines developed Ravinia in the 1980s.
Roughly 76 acres at Georgia 400 and Abernathy Road in Sandy Springs will hit the market today, becoming the largest development site available in the central Perimeter.
The land, owned by the Mayson family, is currently zoned residential and known best for its
Historic Glenridge Hall Mansion
But the site also lies in the middle of a commercial district at Abernathy and Glenlake Parkway and next door to the corporate headquarters of Newell Rubbermaid Inc. (NYSE: NWL) and United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS).
The Perimeter is home to big real estate deals, and the Mayson land could rank as one of the largest ever. More than 30 years ago, the Spruill family helped reshape the Perimeter forever by selling pieces of its farm to developers. Hines took one of those sites and turned it into the master-planned Ravinia project.”
Go to: More than 70-acre Glenridge Hall site hits the market – Atlanta Business Chronicle… for more on the business side of the story.
The Billion Dollar Question is:
What will become of the historic Glenridge Hall mansion…
replete with opulent original furnishings…
and the Gardens, including the natural hardwood forest?
The mansion sits right in the middle of the north parcel of the Sandy Springs mega-site which has just come on the market.
Although it is on the National Register of Historic Places,
it has no protections against imminent destruction.
First a little history,
according to the Dunwoody Crier and Reporter Newspapers:
Designed by Samuel Inman Cooper for Thomas K. Glenn and his second wife, Elizabeth, it took a crew of sixty construction workers all of 1929 to complete the home on the four-hundred-acre farm that Glenn had purchased in 1915. The family kidded that Glenridge Hall was built to rival Glenn’s brother and sister-in-law’s home: Callanwolde, which is now the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Druid Hills.
Glenn played a major role in Atlanta’s history, started as a clerk in Atlanta in 1887. Becoming executive secretary to Joel Hurt during the development of the Atlanta Electric Streetcar Company, that company eventually evolved into Georgia Power. He was one of the developers of Atlantic Steel (now Atlantic Station), Grady Hospital and many other business and philanthropic organizations. He was president and chairman of the Trust Company of Georgia, which is now Sun Trust Bank– Coca-Cola’s Bank.
From 1915 to 1930, T.K. developed his Sandy Springs farm into a fully self-sustaining agricultural experiment with a five-horse stable, blacksmith and carpenter’s shop, cow barn, state-of-the-art dairy, smoke house, tractor and equipment barn, and three spacious duplexes for eighteen resident workers. From 1930 to 1946, T.K. and his wife — Elizabeth — enjoyed Glenridge Hall both as a quiet rural weekend retreat and as a setting for lavish social and corporate entertaining. It was also used as dormitories for Westminster school.
When T.K. died in 1946, Elizabeth moved to Manhattan! Guess she had enough of this haunted old mansion!
If this house looks oddly familiar, and you are not an old Atlanta native…
Glenridge Hall was used as the set for the Salvatore Boarding House in the CW hit television series
The Vampire Diaries.
Glenridge Hall has also served as a setting for a variety of films, television series and commercials — most notably serving as the Roosevelt’s’ Hyde Park home in the HBO film Warm Springs, and the New York hotel room and Commerce Club in Driving Miss Daisy.
Come what may…
Surely the gorgeous virgin forests of the 76 acre site are doomed to a near complete destruction.
However, a portion of the land surrounding the Gardens and Mansion should undoubtedly be saved for a Sandy Springs city park along March Creek which snakes around until it reaches the Chattahoochee River. I actually played in that creek when I was a young lad.
The mansion would make an elegant restaurant or perhaps the public areas of a fabulous hotel (like the Mansion on Forsyth Park in Savannah by The Kessler Hotel Collection). Of course, the least destructive would be a house museum, leaving the perfect time capsule of the 1920’s Atlanta for generations to enjoy. Careful design will be critical as the mansion would most likely be surrounded with 25 to 35-story skyscrapers.
Perhaps, there may be a good precedent for design– somewhere in London– thoughtfully intertwining Tudor revival and modern architecture.
I can only hope, however, that the developers and corporate clients will save the irreplaceable historic mansion and gardens with at least some amount of verdant forest surroundings.
This plaque will not protect it, only Atlanta and Sandy Springs citizens can ensure
Glenridge Hall will survive.