Shopping, dining, lifestyle, living: you name it. Atlanta’s city-within-a-city is the shining jewel of intown.
The trend itself isn’t new. Atlanta has more old-school structures than it can count, and by-and-large, they’ve escaped inevitable demolition in favor of renovation and repurposing. Towering edifices, previously responsible for manufacturing textiles, machinery, mattresses, pencils—you name it—have had new life breathed into them, and have become hubs for recreation, commerce, and accommodation. But for years, there was one (enormous) eyesore nobody knew what to do with. And it was located right in the middle of, well, everything.
This structure started its life back in the 1920s, when it was constructed as a storage and distribution facility for Sears, Roebuck, and Co. Its proximity to the train tracks that snaked their way through the center of the Atlanta (and its proximity to the neighborhoods of Virginia-Highland, Poncey-Highland, Old Fourth Ward, Midtown, and Downtown), made its location on the Ponce de Leon corridor ideal, and for years, it flourished while fulfilling its intended purpose.
Turns out, however, that this was about the time Atlanta really started to grow like crazy, and placement for these government offices was quickly delegated to other locations across town. The building slowly fell into disrepair in the early 2000s, and by 2010, its doors were closed for good: doors that enclosed 2.1 million square feet on 16 acres of land. That’s a lot of space.
For years, hammers swung and renovations carried on. Bit by bit, a hungry populace got tidbits of information about what was going on behind the walls of brick and glass. Local restaurateurs started to lease out footprints. Leasees with less culinarily minded goals snapped up some square feet as well. Academic institutions set up shop, too, thrilled to have a location so close to the stimulation of the city. Retailers set up satellite locations or entirely new concepts, keeping consideration of the property’s aesthetic close to mind. People looking for a place to put their couches and beds started signing up to actually live in the place. And in 2014, Ponce City Market opened its doors to the public.
The reaction has been overwhelming. It’s a bit of an understatement to say that the property has provided a catalyst for a whole portion of Atlanta: before, the idea of urban renewal had ranged from evolutionary concept to success-in-microcosm. With PCM on the map, though, a tangible, world-class renovation has paid off in spades.
And with two-plus-million square feet in total, there’s only room to grow.
675 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
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