A fire station tucked away under the Phipps Plaza mall parking deck was built 25 years ago to serve a booming Buckhead. Now Station 3 will get rebuilt itself and move a short distance to accommodate a major expansion of the mall.
The Atlanta Fire Rescue Department’s Station 3 was opened in 1993 to be used as a backup to Station 21, which is located on Roswell Road in Buckhead Village. The project was led by Capt. Dennis Ham. There is a statue of Ham outside the station to commemorate his leadership to build the station.
“Because of all the highrises and development up here, they really needed another station,” said Sgt. Brac Shannon, who has been at Station 3 for about five years.
The new station will be under a different section of the parking deck and slightly larger with upgraded facilities. The city plans to open the station in October 2018.
Simon Properties, which owns Phipps Plaza and Lenox Square, announced in November 2017 plans to open a hotel, restaurant, office tower and fitness center, which will require demolishing the Belk store. The fire station is located under the Belk parking deck.
The station will be 10,000 square feet and “state of the art,” Interim Fire Chief Randall Slaughter announced at the March 29 Buckhead Business Association meeting.
“I’m tremendously excited about this,” said Slaughter, who was promoted from first deputy chief in February.
The station is estimated to cost $5.5 million. Simon will pay part of the cost, but the amount has not been determined, said Atlanta Fire Rescue Department spokesperson Sgt. Cortez Stafford.
“We’ve had a really good, collaborative effort with the Simon Property group,” Slaughter said.
The station will be located about 200 yards south of the current location, which is 721 Phipps Blvd. NE. It will still be located underneath the parking deck, but on the other side. The land is already being prepped for construction.
The current station will stay open while the new one is being built, Stafford said.
There will still be three bays for vehicles to be stored, Slaughter said. The department plans to keep an engine, truck and a battalion chief vehicle, which is typically an SUV or pick-up truck, at the station, he said.
The continued development and increased population in Buckhead has turned Station 3 from something of an outpost into a full-time operation, Shannon said.
“Now, we’re busy. We run a lot of calls up here,” he said.
The new station will have a new weight room, which Shannon hopes is much larger than the current one. The weight room now is big enough for only about five pieces of exercise equipment.
“This place is kind of rough,” he said.
He is also looking forward to upgraded kitchen facilities, which are used frequently by firefighters over their 24-hour shifts.
“We’re really excited. It’s going to be nice having a brand new station,” Shannon said.
Capt. Brian Garner said he wished one of the many older Atlanta stations could be rebuilt instead of this one, since it is relatively new compared to others.
“We have some they were built in the [1940s] that need replacing, but they never seem to have that kind of luck,” Garner said.
“It’s just not in the budget,” Shannon added.