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Parrot Heads Will Soon Waste Away at Margaritaville in Downtown Atlanta

Proposed urban resort includes a 14,000-square-foot restaurant, but takes out two historic properties

Beth McKibben is the editor and staff reporter for Eater Atlanta and has been covering food and cocktails locally and regionally for 12 years.

Demolition permits for two nearly century-old buildings — 141 Walton Street and 152 Nassau Street — were filed with the city to begin moving forward on building the Wyndham Destinations and Margaritaville Vacation Club overlooking Centennial Olympic Park and Skyview Ferris Wheel, Atlanta Business Chronicle (ABC) reports. Because, what downtown Atlanta really needs is a 22-story Margaritaville resort hotel and Jimmy Buffet theme restaurant to replace similar (failed) celebrity-driven concepts like Planet Hollywood.

Local preservationists and downtown activists have been fighting against the adult amusement park and vacation resort since it was first proposed in 2014. The Nassau Street property is said to be the “birthplace of country music.” Many local historians believe it’s where Fiddlin’ John Carson recorded his famous song “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane” in 1923. Walton Street was supposedly home to several film exchanges throughout the 1920s to the 1940s, where distribution companies rented or traded films to area movie theaters from studios like Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Warner Brothers.

Kyle Kessler, an Atlanta architect and preservationist with Historic Atlanta, launched a petition late last week in response to public outcry seeking to protect 152 Nassau Street, Curbed Atlanta reports. The petition currently has over 750 signatures.

The margarita-soaked, urban oasis will house a 14,000-square-foot, two-story restaurant fronting the park. It’s unclear what this establishment plans to serve diners. That other Margaritaville theme park and vacation spot at Lake Lanier Islands in Buford, Georgia has a handful of Buffett-motif restaurants. There’s the family-friendly Feeding Frenzy Fried Shack for fried seafood, chicken tenders, and wings, LandShark Bar & Grill for fish tacos, wings, and beer, and Paradise Cantina (it’s barefoot-friendly) offering tacos and burritos, paired with margaritas and sangria.

In addition to the restaurant, Margaritaville will offer 207 (landlocked) “vacation ownership units,” likely to be used as rentals and timeshares, and could also include rides as part of a sky-high amusement park, located next to Skyview Ferris Wheel and the Tabernacle, according to an earlier report by ABC.

Buying a vacation property (aka timeshare) in the middle of a sea of concrete rather than driving the 53 miles north to the 1500-acre Margaritaville at Lake Lanier Islands, complete with two booze cruising party yachts and Buffett theme bars and restaurants, seems counterintuitive. At least there, Margaritaville is its own self-contained island with an actual body of water and a License to Chill bar.