Goldstein, City Council fight over downtown building
by Nikki Wiley
May 12, 2014 12:00 AM | 2795 views | 12 12 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The glass triangle, featuring two theater masks and the digital marquee above the former Theatre in the Square, building might have to be removed unless the owner of the building, Councilman Philip Goldstein, and the city of Marietta can come to an agreement regarding a required easement.<br>Staff/File
The glass triangle, featuring two theater masks and the digital marquee above the former Theatre in the Square, building might have to be removed unless the owner of the building, Councilman Philip Goldstein, and the city of Marietta can come to an agreement regarding a required easement.
Staff/File
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MARIETTA — Councilman Philip Goldstein and the Marietta City Council are once again at odds over a downtown building he owns, this one the Theatre in the Square facility.

In 2009, the City Council approved Theatre in the Square to undergo a renovation adding an electronic marquee and a glass-covered triangular roof structure, displaying the comedy and tragedy masks. Since the building, owned by Goldstein, could not support the marquee, an independent frame was built with columns to hold it up. The columns encroached 18 inches onto city sidewalk.

A condition of approval was Goldstein had to sign an indemnification agreement with the city so if anyone was injured on the structure protruding onto city property, the city could not be held liable. Goldstein refused to sign the agreement, so Palmer Wells, cofounder of Theatre in the Square, signed it instead.

But Wells’ theater company ran into financial difficulties when the Great Recession hit, and the company closed its doors in 2012.

Mayor Steve Tumlin said while the easement was granted to Wells’ theater company, it was not transferrable to the landlord, Goldstein.

“That easement doesn’t have a right to be there because it expired,” Tumlin said, adding the easement would not be an issue if Theatre in the Square were still in business.

Goldstein has requested an easement from the city, but was told by his colleagues on the council he would need to sign an indemnity agreement stating the city would not be liable if the structure were to fall. Tumlin said it’s the same policy applied to other property owners requesting an easement.

No agreement has been reached, though Goldstein did appear before the Marietta Historic Board of Review last week requesting approval to tear down the renovations.

Councilman Grif Chalfant wondered if Goldstein was simply bluffing to avoid signing the indemnification agreement, but Chalfant also said Goldstein has torn down a building on the Square before.

Chalfant said when Goldstein didn’t get his way with the 1917-era Farmers and Merchants Bank building he owned, which was located between Shillings Restaurant and the Strand Theatre, he razed it in 2010, leaving a crater off Glover Park that remains to this day.

The Historic Board of Review tabled Goldstein’s request to rip down the Theatre in the Square renovations, opting to send it back to City Council to let a deal be reached, said Johnny Fulmer, member of the Marietta Historic Board of Review. The recommendation to postpone making a decision came from the board’s attorney, Gregg Litchfield, who works for Haynie, Litchfield and Crane, the same law firm as the city’s attorney, Doug Haynie, Fulmer said.

“Hopefully, the city and Philip will make an agreement,” Fulmer said.

Goldstein said he has hopes he can work something out with City Council, but declined to comment further.

“I don’t know at this point what’s going to happen,” Goldstein said.

Tumlin said the two are “kind of at an impasse.”

“Our position is fine. Do what you got to do, but if you don’t have the right to have that in the city of Marietta’s space, you’ve got to take it down,” Tumlin said.

The council meets tonight at 5:15 p.m. in the council chamber, at 205 Lawrence St., Marietta.

Comments
(12)
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Mayretta Dump
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May 13, 2014
The Marietta Square looks appauling, as compared to Acworth. Stucco, horrible signage, riff-raff stores and not enough new and unique restaurants. Sad, since it holds so much hostory.

Goooo Acworth!!!!

Kudos to them for working together to create a beautiful, historic and clean downtown.
MAY-RETTA SURVIVOR
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May 13, 2014
@twomby: Please familiarize yourself with the facts...bothersome as they may be:

1. The original facade easement agreement was between Marietta and Theater in the Square. To obtain the easement, Theater in the Square signed a idemnification agreement.

2. Theater in the Square is now closed.

3. Currently, and since Theater in the Square no longer exists, there is no facade idemnification agreement between Marietta and Goldstein (the property owner) because he refuses to sign one.

4. Gold$tein's building is too structurally untrustworthy (no real surprise here) to support the facade on it's own. Therefore, he should either sign a idemnification agreement (it's called personal responsibility) to protect the public - or remove the facade from public property. Simple as that.

Now, twomey, YOU TELL ME what YOU fail to understand?

irked
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May 12, 2014
Just imagine the vitriol that would have occurred had Goldstein tried to stop Russell and his buds from having built the thing to begin with.

Let Russell indemnify. He pushed the decision.
Rollin Along
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May 12, 2014
I remember when this façade was remodeled and many did not want the design that is now reality. It does not blend with the rest of the Square and should NEVER have been approved.

So now the city council should stick to their guns and maybe the front façade will be redone. If Goldstein decides not to sign or move the columns off city property, then he can continue to bulldoze when he does not want to change. And since he and his family own most of the buildings on the Square, most of the Square will be torn down and we can start over. I just wish Goldstein owned the ugly Cobb government bldg. with the gold windows!
Emily Emerson
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May 12, 2014
good comment Mr. Twomey I agree with you
lowest of the low
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May 12, 2014
If there is a better example of Scrooge in Georgia I have missed him. This man is the lowest of the low in terms of supporting our community, everything is money to him and he could care less about the consequences.
Ben Twomey
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May 12, 2014
I have a couple of questions. First, is the 18" encroachment inconveniencing the city, or its residents, in any manner?

Second, since the Marietta Pizza Company, which is adjacent to this building, has tables and chairs on the sidewalk, which create a far more dangerous place for citizens to be hurt than an 18" encorachment by structural columns, have they signed the same indemnity waiver as the council is demanding of Mr. Goldstein?
MAY-RETTA SURVIVOR
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May 12, 2014
@Twomey: Unlike tables and chairs temporarily, repeat temporarily, placed in front of a restaurant, a permanent, repeat permanent, structure- as it applies to Gold$tein - is just that, permanent! This said, and if the "permanent" structure in question is on someone else's property, it should be removed. Twomey, just what about this don't you understand?
Ben Twomey
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May 12, 2014
@May-retta survivor; Obviously you do nt read to comprehend, but to respond. The structure was put up with the city's permission, so obviously it's beiong there is not a big deal. Further, they are not really wanting it removed. this appears to be just another chapter in the ongoing catfight between Goldstein and the rest of the City Council.

Also, if you think the tables and chairs are "temporary", then you are not familiar with the are. They occupy the sidewalk on Church Street and on Whitlock, for the total lenght of the Marietta Pizza company and they are there 24/7.

What about that do you not understand?
MAY-RETTA SURVIVOR
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May 12, 2014
Well, here we go again...

Instead, someone should tear down Gold$tein...and put up a person!
homesgirl
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May 12, 2014
Amen. Goldstein is the best reason I know for adding term limits to city council--with NO grandfathering. He's been there way too long and has found great ways to line his pockets and do whatever he wishes without any concern for Marietta Square's historic value!

As for the marquee--it looks like something that should be over a grocery store, not a theater. If it could be torn off without Phillip being allowed to tear down the whole building, I wouldn't mind it.
homesgirl
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May 12, 2014
Amen. Goldstein is the best reason I know for adding term limits to city council--with NO grandfathering! He's been there way too long and has found great ways to line his pockets and do whatever he wishes without any concern for Marietta Square's historic value!

As for the marquee--it looks like something that should be over a grocery store, not a theater. If it could be torn off without Phillip being allowed to tear down the whole building, I wouldn't mind it.
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