Developer Wants to Tear Down Landmark, Rebuild A Few Blocks Away
"Streets of Buckhead developer Ben Carter hasn't given up on acquiring the architecturally adventurous library on Buckhead Avenue. His latest offer is to build a copy of the internationally acclaimed building at the northeast corner of East Paces Ferry Road and Maple Drive, several blocks from its current site.
'Most of the commentary was not over having a new library, it was that building,' Carter said. 'There seems to be more opposition to losing that architecture than the functionality of the library.'
The alternative site, just under 2 acres, is east of the $1.5 billion Streets of Buckhead project, which covers eight blocks. Carter said he doesn't own the corner lot but the owner is willing to sell.
Carter has offered about $24 million for the existing library because he considers it in the way of his project. He said that's more than enough money for the land, construction and furnishings at a new library.
The Fulton County Commission approved a resolution Wednesday that directs staff members to analyze Carter's proposal. The county commission will hear their recommendation next month.
'Is an offer of $300-a-square-foot worth taking a look at?' Commissioner Tom Lowe asked in an interview. 'I say yes.' Lowe, who once called the library 'an abortion the day it was dedicated,' offered the resolution. 'Ben told me, "Hell, I'll build the same damn library at the other site,"' Lowe said. But with $24 million, Lowe added, the county could build 'a bigger, fancier library.'"