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Past Meets Present At Ponce City Market
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Past Meets Present at Atlanta’s Ponce City Market

Oct 6th, 2014

For three years, developers, contractors, and designers have been busy renovating the historic Sears, Roebuck, and Co. building. Now named Ponce City Market, the historic structure that sits at the intersection of Ponce de Leon Avenue and the beautiful Atlanta Beltline has been injected with new life.

Before long, it may be the most happening place in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood. Let’s take a look at this building’s illustrious history and what you can expect from its new identity as Ponce City Market.

Like a Phoenix, Ponce City Market Rises

In 1926, work was completed on a beautiful red-brick structure in midtown Atlanta. For more than 60 years, the nine-story building served as the Atlanta regional headquarters for Sears, Roebuck, and Co. After the office closed in 1987, the building was purchased by the city of Atlanta. For 25 years it was used for various public purposes, but budgetary constraints meant little money and time were spent on upkeep and modern amenities.

In 2011, the structure was purchased by Jamestown, a private equity group. During the past three years, the entire building has undergone long overdue renovations. Today, it glimmers as it may have when it was first completed nearly a century ago. But the building’s facade and exterior are only a small part of its renewed appeal. It was renovated to meet LEED Silver requirements inside and out. Over the next several months, the building’s reimagined spaces will open in phases.

A World Class Food Hall

The Central Food Hall will be a place for people working in the area to grab food on their lunch breaks and meet up with friends on the weekends. Cuisine from all over the world will be represented, but an emphasis on fast casual meals prepared by regionally grown talent with locally sourced ingredients will connect most of the eateries.

To find out what restaurateurs will occupy the dining space, you will have to keep tabs on developments underway. Eating establishments and food and wine vendors that have already committed include Chai Pani Indian street-style food, Dub’s Fish Camp, Holeman & Finch Burger, Honeysuckle Gelato, Jia Authentic Szechuan cuisine, The Juice Box, and Simply Seoul Kitchen. Dancing Goats Coffee Bar is already caffeinating visitors and Jia is expected to open sometime this fall. Food trucks started dishing up food on site in late September. In its finished state, Ponce City Market is expected to house some 15 restaurants and upwards of 25 food vendors.

Upscale Office and Campus Space 

The distribution of  the 475,000 square feet of office space in Ponce City Market is well underway. On September 22, Athenahealth moved its regional headquarters and 200 employees from Alpharetta, Ga. and plans to hire another 500 people to work out of its space. Athenahealth followed General Assembly and the Suzuki School as the first entities running corporate or educational operations.

First-Rate Shopping

Embracing its identity as a food hall, the development of Ponce City Market has focused thus far on filling its food service space. As the market starts to take shape, you can expect to see retailers with sterling reputations for producing quality goods and wares move in. The space and retailer interest are both there, but Jamestown appears to be trying to let Ponce City Market’s nature unfold somewhat organically. This may mean getting a feel for where consumer demand lies among people eating, working, and living in the area before renting out retail space.

In a neighborhood as dynamic as Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, there are plenty of places where you can Live Life + Love Life. AMLI Residential has three projects in the area that have opened recently. The newest is AMLI Ponce Park, which opened earlier this year. AMLI Old Fourth Ward and AMLI Parkside also offer desirable living space in close proximity to Ponce City Market, ranging in size from studios to three-bedroom apartments.

Ponce City Market is poised once again to become an icon of Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward and surrounding neighborhoods. If you want to get in on the action, make sure to plan a visit.

What are you most excited to eat, buy, or experience at Ponce City Market? Let us know by sharing a comment below!

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