700 SPRING STREET | WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2013
The National Register-listed Macon Historic District is losing one of its contributing buildings. After months of discussion, Historic Macon Foundation reached an agreement with Central Georgia Health Systems and the Macon-Bibb County Hospital Authority on October 15, 2013 not to oppose the demolition of this building.
The building at 700 Spring Street was a 1927 commission from Hentz, Adler and Schutze for Middle Georgia Sanitarium to house additional office space. Construction was managed by local consulting architects at Dennis and Dennis and was completed in late 1928. The building cost about $85,000 at the time it was constructed. In 1939, the building was expanded and remodeled by Dennis and Dennis.
The building continued to serve modern medical functions for many years, which took a huge toll on the historic fabric of the interior. As you can see from recent pictures, very few of the original finishes survived. Historic buildings are incredibly adaptable to new functions, but the specific needs of modern pediatric hospital services proved an impossible stretch for 700 Spring St. to accommodate.
The Hospital Authority is exempt from local design review restrictions, meaning this building could have been demolished without any consultation with Historic Macon Foundation. It is a testament to our long partnership that Central Georgia Health Systems sought out our input and advice. As a result, we were able to photo-document the building for the archives, conduct limited salvage operations for the few historic finishes remaining, and arrange for the hospital to place a commemorative plaque acknowledging the history of the site.
Demolition is never a happy end for a historic building, but we felt strongly that the greater danger to Macon's historic architecture was keeping this building and causing the hospital to expand into the adjacent historic neighborhoods. By replacing this building with a higher-density modern facility, development will be confined to the current campus boarders. We look forward to Central Georgia Health Systems designing and building a functional, attractive and durable building for this site in the coming years and that the new building will become a landmark in its own right.