The Hotel Row Neighborhood: Atlanta's Original Business District


The Hotel Row Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the oldest remaining block of Atlanta's downtown business district. It is located in the heart of downtown near Five Points, the historic center of Atlanta, where the rail lines and, before that, Native American trade routes, came together. The area is accessible from Interstate 20 and the Interstate 75/85 Downtown Connector. Nearby attractions include the Georgia Dome, Philips Arena, CNN Center, Centennial Olympic Park, the Georgia Aquarium, and the World of Coca-Cola. MARTA, Atlanta's public transit system, has three train stations within walking distance of Hotel Row.

Hotel Row itself is a single block of old hotels and commercial buildings that have been converted into other businesses. The hotels were around the corner from Atlanta's Terminal Station, its main railroad station, built in 1905; travelers looking for a place to stay encountered these hotels as soon as they left the station. By the 1920s, the convenience of automobile travel led train passengers to newer, more comfortable hotels further away, and Hotel Row went into decline.

The block includes:

Concordia Hall. Concordia Hall is the oldest building on Hotel Row, according to the National Park Service, and the only building to survive a 1908 fire that destroyed the rest of the block. It was built no later than 1895 as a Jewish Community Center, especially, according to the Atlanta Urban Design Commission, "successful young businessmen who ... wished to foster their cultural heritage. Dramatic performances, music and literary gatherings, debates and card playing took place in the club.'' An 1895 item in the New York Times mentions a B'nai B'rith Convention in Atlanta that would be holding a grand ball at the hall. A lyre, symbolic of the arts, remains on the fazade of the building. By 1912, Southern Railway owned the building and used it to house workers. The building currently holds several retail businesses.

The Gordon Hotel. The Gordon Hotel is a three-story brick building that was converted into the Gordon Lofts in 1996. The building has 19 loft units that range from 785 to 1,373 square feet in size.

The Scoville Hotel. The Scoville Hotel is a three-story building that operated as a hotel until 2001. According to Creative Loafing, the hotel "came to resemble a Bowery flophouse and was used frequently for film shoots,'' including RoboCop III and a Rolling Stones video. The building has retained some interesting architectural details, including a black-and-white checkerboard tile floor with "Scoville'' laid in red tile at the entrance.

An unnamed commercial building. The three-story red brick building contains retail businesses.

The Sylvan Hotel. The Sylvan was also built to house railroad workers and their guests. The building was renovated in 1987 and today contains residential and office lofts, as well as retail and restaurant space.

Hotel Row is part of Atlanta's South Central Business District (CBD), the oldest part of downtown. The South CBD is the home of Atlanta's main city, county, state and federal government buildings. The area is the subject of intense focus from city planners, who want to bring more residential and retail activity to the area. Central Atlanta Progress (CAP), a private organization that encourages economic development in downtown Atlanta, believes that "the area is becoming a hub of authentic loft residential development in former ... hotels ... and other commercial buildings.'' A.J. Robinson, CAP's president, was quoted in February 2009 in the Atlanta Business Chronicle as saying that the area is "primed for redevelopment.'' Atlanta's history buffs hope that Hotel Row can make a comeback as a center of the city's downtown life.

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