The city of Atlanta has reached a preliminary agreement with professional classical musicians, arts patrons and a group of residents in Buckhead’s Haynes Manor neighborhood to turn the former Bobby Jones Golf Course clubhouse on Woodward Way into a performance hall and a music education center. The pact will become official once the city council approves it, with a vote expected April 30.
In 2016, the city gave the 144-acre golf course to the state in a land swap. The Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation is currently renovating the course, which will change the 1932 course named for Georgia’s greatest golfer from an 18-hole layout to a nine-hole, reversible course.
The city leased back the historic clubhouse as part of the deal. The new group will sublease the building from Atlanta for a nominal fee, $10 per year.
Opened in 1941, the clubhouse was built on land given to the city by Haynes Manor developer Eugene Haynes. Using money generated by the golf course and $20,000 raised by the city, the Works Progress Administration built the clubhouse.
Since the course closed in November for renovation, the clubhouse has been used as a Veterans of Foreign Wars post and as office space for the Path Foundation, which is doing extensive work building trails around Atlanta Memorial Park.
Atlanta attorney and 22-year Haynes Manor resident Alex Simmons, along with several others, has helped usher the plan to fruition, with guidance from Jun-Ching Lin, the assistant concertmaster with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Architecture firm Perkins & Will has developed the preliminary plan.
Lin said the facility fills a need for Atlanta chamber musicians and music teachers. He noted there is a dearth of appropriate space for chamber concerts, and that the size and the shape of the clubhouse – rectangular and long with narrower sides and a high, barreled ceiling, is consistent with the concert halls built in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The lower level of the building will be transformed into classrooms for music education.
Lin also said the 200-seat venue will be intimate, allowing patrons to see the musicians play up close. He said the acoustics in the building are very good, especially considering nothing has been done to improve them.
The group is forming a nonprofit, and has raised some money for the initial plans. They will now shift into a more intensive fundraising strategy for the renovations and an endowment for the maintenance of the building. Experts have said the group will need to raise about $5 million.
Work on the building and the parking area below could begin as early as October. If everything goes according to plan, the hall will open in December 2019.
The Peachtree Battle Alliance, a community group, is hosting a meeting at the clubhouse today from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.peachtreebattlealliance.org/events.php.
For more information on the clubhouse, visit www.atlmemorialpark.org.