Just 48 hours ago there were people living in the Imperial Hotel Apartments at the corner of Peachtree Street and Ralph McGill Boulevard. Like any other summer evening, taxis, bicycles and cars were coming and going from the building while a few residents sat on the front porch or in a small cluster of chairs set up where the parking lot meets the sidewalk.
Tonight the doors and windows on the first two floors are boarded up. The only things on the front porch are a couple of grocery carts, probably deployed to help with harried, last-minute moving. The parking lot, which usually held about a dozen cars, some of which had been sitting in the same spot for at least a year, is completely empty. In the middle of an upper floor a single room is lit.
A man walking by slowed down when he noticed the Imperial’s sudden changes. “What happened?” he asked. “It was just open yesterday.” He stopped on the sidewalk beside the building, staring up at the dark, silent, apparently vacant eight floors. He shook his head and said “The Imperial Hotel Apartments is over” then turned and walked away toward Midtown.
But don’t write the Imperial off just yet. The 102-year-old building went into foreclosure in 2010, but now has new owners and is up for a major renovation. It will be converted into 90 apartments for low-to-moderate-income residents, down from the current 120. The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported in January that former residents will receive vouchers and other assistance to pay for housing during the two-year renovation and will be able to move back in afterward.