Ponce City Market breathes new life into an Atlanta landmark

Ponce City Market hard hatIf you’ve ever driven down Ponce de Leon Avenue or North Avenue in midtown, you have no doubt passed the behemoth building complex that sits between the two streets at Glen Iris Dr.   The huge structure, which was first constructed by Sears, Roebuck & Company in 1925 as a retail store and distribution center, and later housed City of Atlanta offices as City Hall East, will soon become a bustling retail, business, entertainment and residential complex known as Ponce City Market!

Last week I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peek at the future Ponce City Market when I participated in a hard hat tour of the property.  I left the tour brimming with excitement about what is sure to be a fantastic addition to intown Atlanta.

The tour started in a space adjacent to the now open Dancing Goats Coffee Bar.   Upon signing in, we were given a hard hat (it is an active construction site) and greeted with snacks and drinks.

Snacks and drinks before the tour

Snacks and drinks before the tour

We were then introduced to our tour guide, Annie Evans, a member of the development team managing the residential portion of the project.  We secured our hard hats and off we went!

As we walked toward what will be the main entrance to Ponce City Market, Annie provided us with some interesting facts and information about the location’s rich history.  For starters, at two million square feet, the buildings here comprise the largest brick structure in the Southeast and the largest structure in Atlanta!

Walking toward the future main entrance

Walking toward the future main entrance

Our first stop inside took us to the area that will soon hold a mix of retail, restaurants and raw food vendors.   Picture Chelsea Market in New York City if you’ve ever been.  In fact, Jamestown Properties, the developers of Ponce City Market, are the same developers who transformed that space to what is now a hugely successful New York City destination.   We are definitely in good hands here!

Future market space

Future market space

We then headed in to a freight elevator to go to the ninth floor of the building.   Floors 4-9 of this building will be converted to 450,000 square feet of office space as part of the project.   Annie pointed out several unique features about the floors and ceilings and talked about Jamestown’s commitment to maintaining the historical integrity of the buildings.

Riding the freight elevator to see the future office space

Riding the freight elevator to see the future office space

Future office space

Future office space

The next stop truly took our breath away.  We walked up a flight of stairs to the roof where we were greeted with one of the most exquisite views of the city I have ever seen – and on what happened to be a beautiful fall evening.   That’s when Annie revealed the plans for a nostalgic rooftop amusement park – not unlike the one that once stood on this land in 1903.  WOW!   She also told us about Jamestown’s commitment to sustainability including its plan to use the natural spring water that flows below the buildings (and was once thought to have healing properties) to power Ponce City Market’s HVAC system.   Fun fact:  Upon locating the spring in the 1860s, Ponce de Leon Avenue was named in honor of the Spanish explorer, Juan Ponce de Leon, who discovered Florida while searching for the Fountain of Youth.

View from the roof

View from the roof

Annie tells us about the plans for the rooftop amusement park

Annie tells us about the plans for the rooftop amusement park

Another beautiful view

Another beautiful view

The last stop on the tour took us back down to the third floor where we walked outside and right on to the BeltLine!     When Ponce City Market opens, you’ll be able to walk from the BeltLine right on to the third floor of the market on a NYC Highline-style park path.   Two great Atlanta projects coming together – can’t beat that!

People enjoying the BeltLine

When Ponce City Market opens, you’ll be able to walk right in from the BeltLine.

Ponce City Market has all the makings for an authentically Atlanta experience and I couldn’t be more excited.  Get more information on the Ponce City Market website and follow Market updates on their blog and Facebook pages.    You can also swing by the Market Center (next to Dancing Goats Coffee Bar) to see a video and 3D model of the project which includes plans for a rooftop pool and a fitness facility.

Between Ponce City Market and the BeltLine, this area is shaping up to be a hot one in which to work and live for those who value walkability and sustainable urban living.  In fact, Perennial Properties is about to break ground on a luxury apartment building in walking distance from both – at the corner at North and Somerset.   Stay tuned for more details!

Ponce City Market is scheduled to open in Spring 2014.  Get excited, Atlanta!

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