ATLANTA - At a Sunday ceremony led by Gov. Nathan Deal, the old Georgia Archives building was imploded to make way for a sparkling new state courts building.
The 14-story building, so nicknamed for its dearth of windows and white-marble boxy exterior, was built in 1965 in the shadows of the state Capitol and was a marvel when completed. Hailed as one of the most modern facilities in the nation for archives, it became a destination for visitors touring its ornate stained-glass windows depicting the rise and fall of the Confederacy.
Time took its toll on the structure. About three decades later, engineers determined it was slowly sinking due to soggy grounds and nearby highway construction. With a cost of $40 million to repair and refurbish it, lawmakers built a new archives facility near Clayton State University rather than fix up the relic on Capitol Avenue.
The old archives building was formally shuttered in 2012 and has since been frozen in time, used primarily as a parking lot and a movie set. (It was the site of Pym Technologies in Ant Man and the cable news upstart "GNN" in Anchorman 2.)
Governors have long wanted to tear down the building, but faced skeptical lawmakers worried about the cost. Deal won over the legislative and judicial branch with his plan for a new judicial complex on the site, which also coincided with measures to expand the state Court of Appeals and the Georgia Supreme Court.
He’s included $105 million to build the new facility in his spending plan, a price-tag that is expected to grow. Soon, the site will be home to one of the most expensive state-funded buildings ever constructed.
“It will add even more dignity to Capitol Hill,” Deal said after the implosion. “It will be a facility all of us will be very proud of.”