You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

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

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

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 myAJC.com.

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

Atlanta forecast: Cool and dry weather ahead
Atlanta forecast: Cool and dry weather ahead
Georgia Republicans warn against Electoral College overhaul
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images As Capitol Hill Democrats push to overhaul or do away with the Electoral College, some Georgia Republicans are sending a signal that the debate will go nowhere in the Peach State.
Driver dies after Maserati crashes into home
Driver dies after Maserati crashes into home
Bill Torpy at large: Street giveaway is as transparent as asphalt
Bill Torpy at large: Street giveaway is as transparent as asphalt
Off-duty Muslim NYPD officer allegedly threatened by man
Off-duty Muslim NYPD officer allegedly threatened by man
An off-duty New York Police Department officer who is a Muslim was allegedly threatened by a man Saturday after dropping off her son.
More Stories