Inman Park Properties update

For those of you following the tale of Jeff Notrica and Inman Park Properties in East Atlanta, here are some updates for you. The Good:

- Work is rolling along at the two new restaurants set to open in Notrica”s strip of spaces between the Graveyard Tavern and what used to be Good News Cafe on Glenwood Avenue. Word is one of the spaces (described in some circles as a juice bar / vegetarian restaurant / live music space – who knows?) is set to open this month, with the other (The Glenwood – which is positioning itself as something along the lines of Atkins Park) opening sometime after that. The parking lot/alley behind the spaces remains well-maintained and clean.

- A bar catering to lesbians – My Sister”s Room – plans to relocate to the EAV from Decatur. According to the East Atlanta Community Association, the club is moving into the former Good News Cafe space at Glenwood and Gresham avenues. More interesting, still, is that EACA says Inman Park Properties has purchased the Good News space specifically to lease to My Sister”s Room. County records still show that space being owned by the Graveyard Tavern people, but I guess that has changed. At this month”s EACA meeting, it was noted that My Sister”s Room had reservations about leasing from Inman Park Properties because the club became aware of some issues East Atlanta has with Jeff Notrica. To that I say if a company doesn”t let its properties get into this kind of shape, it won”t face these kinds of questions from prospective tenants.

- Some work on the utilities at Inman Park”s Tucker Automotive building on Flat Shoals Avenue has begun. Supposedly this is the future home of yet another new restaurant, but there”s a ton of work that needs to be done before any kind of business is opening there.

The Bad:

- It”s status quo at the B&W Market and East Atlanta Lock & Key. Sure, the ghetto market is gone, but these two spaces are huge eyesores right in the heart of the Village. Notrica could have demolished these spaces when he tore down the Homeless Hovel farther north on Flat Shoals, but he chose not to do so. Supposedly plans are in the works to demolish these buildings, but I”ll believe it when I see it.

- Still lots of trash around the B&W and Notrica”s lots next door – including their lovely rusting oil drums. They”ve done a good job of cleaning up behind the Glenwood space, but not so much is their less visible spots.

The Really Bad and Really Disturbing:

I was told after the EACA meeting that the city has begun code enforcement action against Inman Park Properties in relation to the John B. Gordon School on Metropolitan Avenue. The company bought the school – built in 1925 – from Atlanta Public Schools in the summer of 1997 with the supposed intention of converting it to lofts. And then they left the building there to rot. They”ve updated their “coming soon” sign a couple of times, with the current almost-not-falling-apart version promoting a Spring 2006 launch!

What I was told by an official NPU-W representative is that the city has ordered Inman Park Properties to resolve the issue of boarded up windows at the Gordon School. Apparently outlawing boarded windows is how the city combats abandoned property. And I was also told that Jeff Notrica has a novel idea for resolving the boarded windows – by demolishing the school. I was told that Notrica believes the cost of repairing the windows is too high, so the smart choice is to tear the place down. Somehow I don”t think that was the vision Atlanta Public Schools had when it sold the property 10 years ago. It”s also an interesting position considering the company”s slogan of Preserving The Future By Saving The Past.

Notrica will face a real fight on this one. It”s likely to be a lose-lose proposition, however, because Notrica has demonstrated that he”s more than happy to sit on this property and let it rot. So the options will likely be compel him to put new windows in, in which case the building will probably just continue to rot, or let him tear the place down, in which case the property will probably sit vacant and undeveloped for years to come. I”m sure Notrica will come forward with grand plans for a beautiful new development there, but his history in East Atlanta precedes him.

Jeff Notrica has been perfectly content to let the Gordon School rot for a decade. The Tucker Automotive space has sat vacant and rotting for six years now. The Homeless Hovel sat rotting for seven years before Notrica was finally pressured to tear it down – reportedly because of a boarded window citation. He”s content to let the small building he put up at 567 Flat Shoals five years ago sit vacant to this day. He owns vacant lots on Flat Shoals, Glenwood, May and Haas Avenues that he”s happy to let sit undeveloped, so any promises to build something new on the Gordon School land will ring completely hollow.

East Atlanta will look at any plans by Jeff Notrica will great doubt, because that”s the reputation he”s created for himself in our neighborhood.

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