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Controversy Continues

Demolition days: Crews dismantle Maryland Manor apartments to prepare for controversial Ashby high-rise

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demolition prepration begins for Ashby highrise April 2013
Workers are removing salvageable items from the complex, marking each empty apartment with a spray-painted X. Photo by Tyler Rudick
Ashby High Rise, 1717 Bissonnet
After almost four years of red tape, demolition begins at Maryland Manor to make way for a controversial 21-story residential tower. Photo by Tyler Rudick
Ashby High Rise, 1717 Bissonnet
Nearly every property in a two block radius from the project sports the famous "Tower of Traffic" sign. Photo by Tyler Rudick
demolition prepration begins for Ashby highrise April 2013
According to public records, the Maryland Manor apartments date back to the 1950s. Photo by Tyler Rudick
demolition prepration begins for Ashby highrise April 2013
Demolition is expected to be complete by early June. Photo by Tyler Rudick
demolition prepration begins for Ashby highrise April 2013
Ashby High Rise, 1717 Bissonnet
Ashby High Rise, 1717 Bissonnet
demolition prepration begins for Ashby highrise April 2013
demolition prepration begins for Ashby highrise April 2013

The future site of the controversial Ashby high-rise was surprisingly serene early Monday afternoon, as workers prepped the acre-and-a-half lot at 1717 Bissonnet for the full-scale demolition of the ill-fated Maryland Manor apartments.

This week, contractors from the El Paso-based Hunt Building Company are hauling away refrigerators, dishwashers and other potentially salvageable items — marking each empty apartment with an spray-painted X as they make their way through the complex.

According to one worker, heavy machinery is expected to arrive next week to level the cluster of eight residential buildings, most dating from 1955. Demolition is slated to be complete by early June.

In late March, the building project saw the sudden departure of construction company Linbeck Group LLC, whose executive chairman, Leo Linbeck III, lives near the forthcoming 21-story residential tower.

In a statement last month, Linbeck noted that his firm "wanted to minimize construction impact on the neighborhood," but withdrew due to disagreements with the project's main construction partner Hunt Building Company. Developers Kevin Kirton and Matthew Morgan of Buckhead Investment Partners said the split was amicable.

As per a construction permit posted at the site, Hunt is working with Cherry Demolition to dismantle the Maryland Manor apartments. Buckhead has yet to announce a replacement building partner.

Citing the city's famous lack of zoning, mayor Annise Parker officially backed away from the fight against the project in February 2012. Despite continued grassroots efforts led by the Stop Ashby High Rise group, the project moves forward. Nearly every property surrounding the site dons the yellow anti-high-rise "Tower of Traffic" sign.

Representatives from both Buckhead and the Stop Ashby organization were not immediately available for comment.

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