191 Cherokee Street Rendering.jpg

A rendering of the Bottoms Group’s proposed new office building.

A change is coming to Cherokee Street north of Marietta Square.

Marietta-based insurance agency the Bottoms Group will be moving its headquarters across Cherokee Street to a spot kitty-corner to its current location near Ardis Street and Forest Avenue, north of Zion Baptist Church.

“This will be a new home for The Bottoms Group, and we will make our current building available for lease,” said Executive Director Gary Bottoms. “Our life insurance and employee benefits business has been growing steadily over the years, and this will be our new home for years to come.”

The Marietta City Council voted 6-0 to approve the agency’s plans to knock down the medical offices that have been on the site since 1991 and build a new two-story, 5,158-square-foot building in the same general location as the existing building. The parking lot and sidewalk will be unchanged.

One resident attending Wednesday’s meeting, Don Barth, said he had a problem with the plan. While he has no gripe with the project itself, Barth balked at the list of 10 variances the agency requested.

“There’s a variance tree growing in Marietta,” he said. “A variance, I didn’t go to college, but it means to change an existing part of the comprehensive plan that was established in 2017. That’s not that far back. … It’s against the comprehensive code. It’s against everything you’ve sworn to do, to protect Marietta. … Do you see a hardship here, or is this monetary?”

Attorney Kevin Moore, who represented the Bottoms Group on Wednesday, said the variances would still be necessary even if the builders didn’t move the current building’s footprint because the existing building does not comply with current requirements.

“Absent granting of the variances, you would render the property unusable,” he said.

That was good enough for the council, which approved the project unanimously, with Councilwoman Michelle Cooper Kelly not present.

Bottoms said the group plans to begin demolishing the old building as soon as plans are completed. There is no word yet as to what may go into the Bottoms Group’s current location.

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