You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Politicians, neighbors (and Blondie) at Hotel Clermont groundbreaking

Shielded from the busy Ponce de Leon Avenue traffic by a construction fence, an interesting mix of people gathered Tuesday evening at the dilapidated building that will become Hotel Clermont.

Developers, politicians, investors, neighbors, the Clermont Lounge owners and its infamous dancer Blondie celebrated while cocktails and hors d'oeuvres were passed by staff in 1920s-era outfits.

The Clermont Motor Hotel, which closed in 2009, is slated to be redeveloped into an upscale boutique hotel with a "destination restaurant," by late next year. The iconic club on the bottom level, Clermont Lounge, will remain open throughout the hotel's renovation.   

The speeches were brief, which left more time for guests to tour the building to the tune of live band Bonaventure Quartet, imagining what the hotel will look like once its 94 rooms, art-deco lobby and restaurant are completed. 

BNA Associates developer Philip Welker, who is leading the project with business partner Ethan Orley, said his speech was originally written for 2014, when the project was first slated to begin before running into obstacles including zoning delays. It didn't seem to be a complaint, though; he says it's been a "fun ride" with a lot of challenges. 

"One day I think we're going to write a book about it, if for no other reason, just being kind of therapeutic," Welker said.  

Welker introduced Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, saying the project wouldn't have happened without his support.

Cagle referenced the area's unprecedented revitalization, and the "special place" Clermont holds for many people.

"We passed a tax credit that allowed places like this to be restored," he said.

Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall learned from Welker that they wanted to keep the old building.

Hall had been worried it would be torn down.

"It's really, really pleasing to see the great things we've been able to do, one step at a time, one block at a time, one building at a time, and we don't have to tear them down," Hall said. "This place like no other has been an icon that everyone has been wanting to see good things happen at." 

On the same street a few buildings down, a popular Kroger will close Oct. 28 and be demolished to make way for a new development.

But as Hall stood by while Cagle threw the ceremonial switch to light Hotel Clermont, it was evident that he had no need to worry. 

Like Atlanta News Now on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

New details released for Bishop Eddie Long memorial service
New details released for Bishop Eddie Long memorial service

New details have been released for the funeral services of Bishop Eddie L. Long, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia. Long, 63, an influential and controversial pastor died Sunday after battling an aggressive form of cancer. He had recently celebrated his 29th pastoral anniversary. At its height, New Birth had more than 25,000...
Only one candidate seeks Clarkston City Council seat
Only one candidate seeks Clarkston City Council seat

A special election in the city of Clarkston might be canceled because only one candidate signed up to run. Jamie Carroll, an attorney who has lived in Clarkston for five years, was the sole candidate who qualified last week for a vacancy on the City Council. “I want to run for City Council to help the city grow and attract more...
Woman used kids, ages 7 and 8, to steal from Macy’s, police say
Woman used kids, ages 7 and 8, to steal from Macy’s, police say

A Delray Beach, Florida, woman was arrested Thursday after she allegedly used two young children to help her shoplift more than $1,700 worth of merchandise from a department store in Boca Raton, according to an arrest report. Minnie Earnestine Walker, 29, is facing charges of grand theft between $300 and $5,000 and contributing to the delinquency...
Officials ID man shot to death in Paulding home
Officials ID man shot to death in Paulding home

Authorities have identified the 34-year-old man who was shot to death Friday in his Paulding County home. The body of Mark Phillips was found in the foyer of his home on Crestbend Lane, Sgt. Ashley Henson of the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office said. The incident did not appear to be a random act, officials said Friday. There were no...
Johnny Isakson steps in as Tom Price’s top Senate champion

WASHINGTON – As Georgia U.S. Rep. Tom Price prepares to take the hot seat in the Senate tomorrow, his Republican colleague Johnny Isakson is also taking up arms. The three-term senator plans to be the Roswell Republican’s chief defender as his health and human services nomination winds through the Senate in the weeks ahead. When it comes...
More Stories