The iconic Henri’s Bakery sign may move with the shop to its new location, with help from the Atlanta City Council.
The bakery has moved to Andrews Square after being located at 61 Irby Ave. for more than 50 years. The owners quickly learned it was against city code to install the historic metal roof sign at the bakery’s new location.
“We knew early on there was no real pathway to get the sign to the new location,” said a member of the family operating the bakery, who asked not to be identified.
Henri’s Bakery announced in 2015 it sold the Irby Avenue property to a developer to build a mixed-use redevelopment. The bakery is now located in a temporary suite in Andrews Square, a mall on East Andrews Drive that is undergoing redevelopment by national mall developer EDENS, while its permanent location in the mall is still being reconfigured.
“Having the sign is definitely something the customers have asked for,” the bakery spokesperson said. “It’s a symbol of the old Buckhead and it has nostalgic feeling for a lot of people.”
Roof signs are not permitted in Buckhead Village District, so the bakery would not be able to get a permit for the sign without an amendment to city code. District 8 Councilmember Yolanda Adrean stepped in to help out. She drafted the ordinance after being asked by the bakery owners for help, she said, and it will go before the Atlanta City Council in August or September.
Adrean, who represents the district that includes both the new and old Henri’s locations, said it is a significant business to the area and the community would benefit from allowing the bakery to move the sign to the new location.
“I thought it was worth the exception, given the long history it has in our neighborhood,” Adrean said.
The Buckhead Village SPI-9 zoning district currently allows a wide variety of signs, including on walls and posts, but not roof signs. Roof signs are prohibited to limit driver distraction and for aesthetic reasons, the city’s sign ordinance states.
If the ordinance is passed by City Council, “historic iconic signs” will be permitted in the Buckhead Village District. The ordinance is narrowly tailored to the Henri’s Bakery sign, but could be applied to other signs if they meet the requirements.
To be permitted, a roof sign and establishment would have to have existed for at least 40 years prior to the creation of the Buckhead Village District.
The sign would also have to be preserved in its historic form without major changes, but owners would be able to perform repairs and normal maintenance on the sign.
The ordinance states that the sign has existed since Henri’s opened at the 61 Irby Ave. location 50 years ago and “is an icon in the Buckhead neighborhood and possesses historic significance that should be preserved if possible.”
The bakery hopes to open its permanent location in Andrews Square in early August. The sign, currently in storage, won’t come along until a month or two later, and the bakery will have its official grand opening then, probably around late September, according to the family member.
The move will be welcomed by the owners, the spokesperson said, as the bakery can only bake about 75 percent of what they normally bake due to not having enough space in the temporary location. The new location will have also two patios and an interior courtyard.