A petition created by community organization L5PATL over the weekend to spare Little Five Points institution the Star Bar from demolition currently includes 2,700 signatures. The group hopes to capture at least 5,000 signatures from people opposed to the demolition of the Star Bar building.
News of the impending redevelopment of properties at the corner of Moreland and Euclid avenues broke late last week and indicate that the three-decade-old dive bar and music venue is likely facing the wrecking ball.
Atlanta developer Third & Urban partnered with a conglomerate of local business owners called Point Center Partners to redevelop a 2.5-acre site in the heart of Little Five Points. This includes the historic Point Center building, home to Abbadabba’s, Bear and Honey Candle, and Native American Handcrafts Art Jewelry, and the former Citizens and Southern National Bank building next door where the Star Bar resides.
Urbanize ATL reports plans call for the preservation of the Point Center building and its current retail shops, replacing existing parking lots and other “underused spaces” around the property with green spaces, micro units, apartments, and new retail. Some renovations to the building are expected. The goal is to offer more affordable housing and a less car-dependent lifestyle in Little Five Points.
However, preservation of the building housing the Star Bar isn’t part of those plans. Third & Urban co-founder Hank Farmer tells Urbanize ATL they will replace that building with a new three-story structure consisting of restaurants on the ground floor, offices, and a possible basement space that could become home to the Star Bar, if the owners agree to it.
“Third & Urban is looking at creative ways to keep Star Bar here as part of the neighborhood, and we’re continuing to have conversations with them about potential options,” Farmers says in a statement provided to Urbanize ATL. “We would like for them to stay.”
Despite talk of possibly retaining the Star Bar in a new building on the property, community organizers are unhappy with the proposed demolition of the historic bank building to replace it with what they deem “a soulless development”. One of the building’s most unique features is an old bank vault, which serves as the Star Bar’s shrine to Elvis.
In response to the proposed demolition of the Star Bar, the group organizing efforts to save the building created a petition ahead of meetings next week with area business owners, residents, and employees to discuss the redevelopment.
“This is a huge part of Little 5 Points and without it, what are we doing to our communities,” an Instagram post by organizers reads in part. “You can build condos anywhere, why destroy what brings people to a community?”
Eater reached out to the petition organizers and to Luke Lewis, one of the current owners of the Star Bar, for comment on the proposed redevelopment plans.
David Heany and Marty Nolan opened Star Bar in 1991 inside the Citizens and Southern National Bank on Moreland Avenue. The bar became known for its eclectic musical acts, ranging from funk to punk, weekly comedy shows, and annual tribute festivals like Bubbapalooza and Hollyfest.
Kahle Davis took over Star Bar in 2013. He ended up closing the bar in December 2019. A change of ownership in 2020 saw the Star Bar taken over by Luke Lewis, Christopher Jackson, Dan Meade, and Bruce McLeod, who gave it a fresh coat of paint and performed some much-needed repairs.
News of the proposed redevelopment of the historic properties in Little Five Points comes on the heels of another big redevelopment project by Portman Holdings slated for a large swath of real estate along Ponce de Leon Avenue, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. It’s unclear what Portman plans for these properties, which includes The Local, The Bookhouse Pub, Southern Star Tattoo, Friends on Ponce, MJQ, and Chipotle, as well as the former 8ARM property. 8ARM closed in late August, following the sale of its land and building to Cartel Properties. That land is now owned by Portman, the Chronicle reports.