East Atlanta's potential to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places
East Atlanta is a fantastically historic place. From its early development as a 19th century commercial crossroads along a former Native American trade route, to its cul-de-sacs of 1960s ranch houses, East Atlanta conveys a rich past. Today, East Atlanta is a vibrant, diverse intown community with a unique, attractive character defined in large part by its historic buildings and streetscapes, and the visual interest, walkability, and amenities that are inherent to a historic urban neighborhood.
This spring, students from Georgia State University’s Master’s program in Heritage Preservation will be completing the documentation and survey necessary to nominate East Atlanta for listing in the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district. Listing East Atlanta as a historic district in the National Register of Historic Places would create additional options and incentives for retention of our community’s historic character, without imposing any regulation or restriction of property rights.
The National Register is our nation's official list of historic buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts worthy of preservation. Currently, more than 80,000 historic buildings, structures, sites, and objects in Georgia are listed in the National Register. At this time, the Zuber-Jarrell House on Flat Shoals Road is East Atlanta’s only National Register-listed property. The National Register recognizes both individual properties and groups of properties that were related historically, which are known as historic districts. National Register-listed historic districts in our immediate vicinity include Reynoldstown, Kirkwood, and Candler Park.
Properties listed in the National Register may qualify for specific benefits and incentives, including:
- State and federal investment tax credits
- State and federal preservation grants for planning and rehabilitation
- Eligibility to donate preservation easements to nonprofit organizations
- County and local property tax abatements
Most of these benefits are predicated on rehabilitation of a listed property. For example, if East Atlanta were listed as a historic district in the National Register and an entity were interested in rehabilitating one of the village’s historic commercial buildings, that entity could potentially qualify for a federal tax credit equal to 20% of rehabilitation costs, and/or a state tax credit equal to 25% of rehabilitation costs. Additionally, they could potentially qualify for county and city of Atlanta property tax freezes.
Similarly, if East Atlanta were listed as a historic district in the National Register and a homeowner wanted to make at least $25,000 worth of improvements to their house, as long as that house is historic, that homeowner could potentially qualify for a state tax credit equal to 25% of rehabilitation costs. Additionally, they could potentially qualify for county and city of Atlanta property tax freezes.
These programs are all optional- property owners could also still demolish the buildings in question or change their properties in any way, subject to no additional regulations or restrictions than exist today. But these financial incentives for rehabilitation are only available to properties that are listed or on their way to being listed in the National Register.
Listing in the National Register would provide formal recognition of East Atlanta’s historical and architectural significance. National Register designation identifies significant historic properties so that they can be taken into account in a broad range of preservation and development activities. It also ensures that these properties will be considered in the planning of state or federally funded or permitted projects.
You can expect to see groups of students canvassing the neighborhood this spring, taking photographs and making notes. Feel free to ask questions and share information with them. The students will also be conducting extensive historical research and will need YOUR HELP to document our neighborhood’s story. Watch for announcement of a community history night, to be scheduled in late February, where members of the public will have a chance to bring old photos, scrapbooks, articles, and anything else that tells the story of the neighborhood or their property, to centralized location for scanning. Our neighborhood will not be able to be nominated for listing without sufficient historical documentation, and anything the neighborhood can share will be helpful!
East Atlanta is attracting a lot of attention of late, and our neighborhood’s historic character is one of our primary assets. Listing in the National Register of Historic Places would provide tools and increase options for preservation and revitalization of that character so that it can continue to help East Atlanta attract the city’s best neighbors.
For additional information, please contact:
Stephanie L. Cherry-Farmer
628 Gresham Avenue