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Free Buckhead mansion generates interest

12:55 PM, Sep 14, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- The offer of a free historic Georgian mansion to whoever can afford to move and fix it, has enticed many people.

Wright Mitchell, the president of Buckhead Heritage, has been sifting through the offers for the Randolph Lucas house on Peachtree Street.

"Thanks to 11Alive the interest has been overwhelming," he said. "We've been contacted by realtors who have clients with vacant lots who are interested in moving the house. We've been contacted by developers who are interested in moving the house and rehabilitating it."

Hercules House Movers has estimated the cost of moving the house to somewhere else in Atlanta, at $350,000.

But now, a new issue. People interested in the house want to see inside, want to know how much it will cost to fix and upgrade it. And in the past, the condo association in the 2500 building, the group that wants the house torn down, has denied requests to get in. 11Alive has repeatedly called Hakim Hilliard, the attorney representing the condo association. Hilliard has not returned any calls.

"The great unknown is what it's going to cost to rehabilitate the house," Mitchell said. "Obviously there are going to be numerous upgrades that need to be made to it to make it habitable. And we need to get in to assess that."

Another issue recently arose -- the condo association will not agree to an inspection by architects and builders. The association may allow inspections after it has a demolition permit, but preservationists worry that by then, it may be too late.

Built in 1924 for Thomas Jefferson's great great grandson, no one has lived it in for 25 years, and it has been in its current, awkward spot for 14 years, since the condo was built, and the developer agreed to save the house.

For years, people passing by on their way to somewhere have had their attention caught by the pretty mansion that didn't seem to fit in. Now, the clock is ticking. In a matter of months there will be no more house to see. It will either have a new home -- or it will meet a wrecking ball.

To learn more about saving the Randolph Lucas house, go to www.buckheadheritage.com.

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