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Ponce City Market (formerly City Hall East)

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Ponce City Market (formerly City Hall East)

Inside Ponce City Market pre-redevelopment

Atlanta's City Hall East building has been a long-standing landmark in the Midtown area of Atlanta, bordering the north side of Old Fourth Ward. In 2010 efforts began to clear out the old building and make room for a brand new development that will include shopping, a food hall, full service restaurants, entertainment attractions, housing, a hotel, and more. The new development, Ponce City Market, is slated to open in 2014. The developers are making every effort to restore and reuse current elements of the historic building.

The History of the Ponce City Market Building:

The area of Atlanta where Ponce City Market is located has an interesting history. In the late 1800s' the area was an oasis outside of the city, known as Ponce de Leon Springs. In the early 20th century, it was transformed from a tranquil park setting to an amusement park, and still later a ball park that was home to The Atlanta Crackers.

The Ponce City Market building itself was erected in 1925 - 1925 as a store and warehouse center for Sears. The original building was almost exactly as it stands today, and much of the Sears equipment and systems are still inside (including systems for routing catalog orders and the original heating systems). In 1991, the City of Atlanta purchased the building from Sears and it became a municipal building where people would often find themselves if their car had been towed. The new development promises to be much more fun for Atlanta residents!

What to Expect from Ponce City Market:

I had the opportunity to take a tour of the progress at Ponce City Market in mid-2012, as a part of the opening celebrations of the market's first tenant - a local coffee shop called Dancing Goats. We had an opportunity to see the mostly intact building, as very little new construction has been started, and learn about what Atlanta can look forward to from the new Ponce City Market. Here's what we heard.*
  • The development group, Jamestown Properties, is focused on retaining historic parts of the structure. Some areas will change quite a bit - for example, what's now a wood floor will become a concrete parking structure - but original materials like the hardwoods will be removed and reused elsewhere.
  • The current first level will become an underground parking garage, making the new first level more pedestrian-accessible and providing direct access to The BeltLine. There will also be a bike valet and plenty of green space to pretty up the place.
  • One of the highlights will be the food hall, which will house stalls with local food artisans like cheesemongers. The vision has been compared to Chelsea Market in New York.
  • The building will also have office space and apartments.
  • The roof will include a concert venue and miniature golf.
*These are forward-looking statements that may change during the course of the build-out.
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