Members of the Dahlonega City Council moved unanimously Monday to grant the appeal for the demolition of the historic Payne-Parks Building and replace it with an upscale hotel.
The building, owned by Roberta Green-Garrett and located at 40 East Main St., will be primarily for tourists and University of North Georgia faculty once transformed into a hotel. According to city ordinances, the hotel’s exterior must be styled in a way that is appropriate with the surrounding historical buildings on the Dahlonega square. Demolition of the Parks building is to start soon after the appeal grant is processed.
“I would demolish the (Parks) building tomorrow if the council would let me,” Green-Garret said. “There will not be students from the university living in the hotel, but how do you measure that in days, months or years?”
The Parks Building dated back to the 1840’s and is one of the oldest houses in Dahlonega. The building was home to the first two managers of the Dahlonega gold mine, was seized by the Confederacy during the American Civil War and housed business such as the Dahlonega Cash Store in the 1920’s and the Parks Clothing Company in the 1940’s, according to Dahlonega resident Lamar Bates.
“This building is a real testament to the founding of this town. It is not a Taj Mahal, but it has history,” Bates said.
The meeting of the Dahlonega City Council and mayor was standing-room only and lasted less than 20 minutes. The motion to grant the appeal for demolition of the Payne-Parks Building was made by councilman Bruce Hoffman. The motion was made because the Payne-Parks Building could not be repaired or renovated within reasonable measure, according to a memorandum made by city manager William E. Schmid.
The building was not located in the historic district of Dahlonega based upon previous zoning, but criteria set in place by the Dahlonega Historic Preservation Commission mandated that the building be repaired or renovated if the cost of doing so was within reasonable measure.