Future of Highland Inn & Ballroom in question after owner applies for demolition permit

Courtesy Highland Inn

The owner the Highland Inn & Ballroom in Poncey-Highland has applied for a demolition permit to raze the nearly-century old landmark to make way for a potential mixed-use development.

The Atlanta Zoning Review Board is slated to discuss the matter at its Aug. 13 meeting.

Built in 1927, the hotel and event space at 644 N. Highland Avenue is owned by Thomas Carmichael, who also owns the North High Ridge Apartments across the street. Carmichael has been an outspoken opponent of creating the Poncey-Highland Historic District, which has been approved by residents, but finalization has been delayed due to the pandemic.

According to What Now Atlanta, approval of the demolition permit has been delayed due to the historic nature of the building, but a new development would likely feature retail, restaurant space, and apartments.

However, an attorney for Carmichael told Atlanta magazine that demolition is not imminent and that his client was simply looking at “options” due to the Highland Inn’s aged condition and the challenges to the hospitality industry due to COVID-19. The attorney said Carmichael had signed no development deals or sought a buyer.

David Mitchell with the Atlanta Preservation Center said the organization is monitoring the situation, but said what the city decides to do will be telling.

“The Atlanta Preservation Center is earnestly observing this process and the result will be an example of how preservation is recognized,” Mitchell said.

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