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Watch another beautiful building in Atlantic City get torn down

The old Holiday Motors Building, which once housed Studebakers, and sat charmingly at the confluence of Atlantic and Providence Avenues, was deemed too far gone to save and was demolished as part of Stockton's new campus.

ATLANTIC CITY — In a town Louis Malle made famous for its imploding buildings (see a video clip from his masterpiece Atlantic City at the bottom of this story), it's still a shock when beautiful old buildings come down, even when they can't be saved.

The latest was the fetchingly interesting old Holiday Motors Building at the intersection of Atlantic and Providence, at the end of a diagonal block that starts with the landmark Knife and Fork Inn, its architectural counterpoint.

Dating back to the age of Studebakers, the Holiday Motors Building was undeniably historic and charming, with tiles in the facade and an oddly shaved-off triangular corner. Located at the edge of the new Stockton University campus being built, across from what officials envision as a quadlike park, it cried out to be the great hip coffee shop in the cool historic space an Atlantic City campus should have.

Alas. Watch the demolition video, by Allison V. Brown, here.

Elizabeth Terenik, the city's departing planning director, said the building's charms were not lost on its current owners, ACDevCo, which purchased the property from Goldman Sachs as part of the larger deal to build the campus.

But, she said, the building had lacked a roof for years and was deemed beyond saving.

"Oh my gosh, it was an absolutely beautiful building — the tiles," Terenik said. "I know it's a sad thing about Atlantic City to see buildings that have special character be demolished. In all the conversations, there was not the potential to save the building. There were structural issues that couldn't be repaired."

Chris Paladino, head of ACDevCo, which will host Gov. Christie in an official groundbreaking Thursday, said that he recognized the appeal of the building but that it was attracting vandals and fines from the city and was determined to be beyond repair.

He said he hoped the demolition would spur interest in the next-door Eldredge Building, another historic structure once used by wealthy residents to store their cars in winter months.

He said the demolition did not reflect a lack of desire to save the building, if at all possible, on ACDevCo's part.

"We spent a lot of time," he said. "We did every investigation possible with respect to the structural integrity of the building. The building was too far gone. It was becoming dangerous. People were breaking into the building. The city was giving us violations.

"The roof was gone," he added. "Water had been in there for 15 years. Really, the structural integrity was shot. We still hope to use the Eldredge Building next door that's been there since the '20s."

Now watch the landmark hotel demolition from the 1970s at the end of this clip from Malle's Atlantic City.