Atlanta BeltLine and Ponce City Market carve out places in city’s changing landscape

Two of the most ambitious development projects the city of Atlanta has ever seen are slowly but surely inching their way into our lives, step-by-step, brick-and-mortar by brick-and-mortar.

One connects the city by way of pathways, art, events and alternative transportation. The other is the disruptor, plopping down in the middle of an area some say would never change, for better or worse.

Some say you couldn’t find more diametrically opposite projects than the Atlanta BeltLine and Ponce City Market, but others welcome both as signs of the city’s new frontier.

Either way, they’re here. And they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Here’s the latest on them both.

Atlanta BeltLine

The Atlanta BeltLine is a work in progress in the most flattering of ways. Typically when a development is under construction, it’s in one place; we see its progress whenever we happen to drive by, and before you know it, it’s complete.

But the BeltLine literally happens all around us. Different sections are created and connected at dozens of points around the city. Secret passageways are revealed and new angles to view the city are opened up step by step, until we’re able to experience them ourselves step by step.

Here’s the latest on the BeltLine as we head deeper into spring.

The North Avenue Plaza

Beltline - North Avenue Plaza rendering

The North Avenue Plaza will connect Ponce City Market with the Eastside Trail as well as function as a public gathering space. It will be accessible from the bridge over North Avenue and from the existing path to Ponce City Market’s rail shed deck. Ponce City Market plans to construct stairs and an elevator from North Avenue accessible to the public. The hope is to conclude the project by the end of the year.

The Ponce de Leon Avenue Streetscapes Project

The goal here is to create complete streets along Ponce de Leon Avenue with the BeltLine’s section focusing on the area between Monroe Drive and Freedom Parkway. The project will include sidewalk and lighting improvements as well as construction of a formal connection between Ponce de Leon Avenue and the Eastside Trail. Construction is pegged for 2017.

The Westside Trail

Beltline - Westside Trail

This three-mile corridor on the city’s southwest side is now under construction and will run from University Avenue in Adair Park to Lena Avenue at Washington Park. Demolition of the bridge over Martin Luther King Jr. Drive took place in March to make way for a new bridge, with construction due to be completed in 2017.

The Urban Farm

Beltline - Urban Farm (1024x768)

The Urban Farm is a four-acre site located in southwest Atlanta adjacent to the Westside Trail. It will be professionally farmed, so it differs from a community garden, but there will be an educational component to it as well to teach people sustainable land care techniques. The farmer has been selected and the planting has begun on the site, which will serve as a pilot for other urban agriculture sites around the BeltLine.

Event to Put on Your Calendar

First Annual Atlanta BeltLine Jamboree
May 16,  from 2 to 8 p.m.
Washington Park
$15 for adults, $5 for those under 21
Live music, food, games and entertainment with proceeds benefiting the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership

The BeltLine By the Numbers

45 neighborhoods will be united
22 percent of the city of Atlanta population lives in the planning area
22 miles of transit and transportation infrastructure
33 miles of urban trails
6.75 miles of completed trails
4.25 miles of trail construction started in early 2015
3.6 miles of trails in design
46 miles of streetscapes and complete streets
5,600 units of affordable workforce housing
28,000 total housing units
30,000 jobs
$10 to $20 billion in economic development
1,100 acres of environmental cleanup
202 acres of greenspace opened
1,300 acres of new greenspace is goal
700 acres of renovated greenspace is goal
2030 projected completion date of the entire Atlanta BeltLine

Ponce City Market

Atlanta’s behemoth. The former Sears, Roebuck & Company building is all sorts of imposing and is set to quite possibly transform the entire area.

The location couldn’t be better for developers, as the complex sits squarely in the spot where the neighborhoods of the Old Fourth Ward, Virginia-Highland and Poncey-Highland meet.

But how will the development be received by local residents, and what effect will it have on local businesses? Detractors say Ponce City Market is a sign of the City Too Busy To Hate turning into the City Too Busy To Relate.

No matter what, Ponce City Market is sure to shake up the area in more ways than one. Take a look at what’s in store:

Central Food Hall

The Central Food Hall will be the hub for all things culinary at Ponce City Market.

Opening This Season:

Dub’s Fish Camp, a casual-style fish shack from chef-owner Anne Quatrano

Opening This Summer:

Jia, an authentic Szechuan concept from the operators of Tasty China and Peter Cheng’s Tasty China 2.

Honeysuckle Gelato, the first brick-and-mortar location from chef-owner Wes Jones

Simply Seoul, an artisanal kimchee, sauces and Korean steamed buns restaurant from Chef Hannah Chung

Bellina, a gourmet Italian market

Opening Mid-2015:

H&F Burger from chef-restaurateur Linton Hopkins of Holeman & Finch and Restaurant Eugene

Ton Ton, a Japanese restaurant from Atlanta restaurateur Guy Wong of Miso Izakaya

Coming Soon:

An Indian street food concept and Indian spice market from Meherwan and Molly Irani, the couple behind Indian restaurant Chai Pani

Juice Box, created by Rawesome Juicery founder and local artist Kawai Laurencin, offering natural cold-pressed juice, superfood smoothies, energy enhancing shots and freshly prepared meals

Minero, a casual Mexican-influenced concept from Charleston-based chef Sean Brock

Strippaggio, the second Atlanta location of the purveyor of small-batch extra virgin olive oils, vinegars, gourmet salts, spices and culinary serving accessories

Farm to Ladle, a European cafe and farm stand


Summer 2015:

Oakleaf & Acorn, a boutique men’s shop with its first brick-and-mortar location

Mountain High Outfitters, who specialize in outdoor active wear and gear for outdoor enthusiasts

Fall 2015:

The Jean Machine, a multi-branded jean store specializing in custom-fit branded jeans for men and women

The Williams-Sonoma House, an urban industrial design of the classic cook shop with new home offerings

Madewell, specializing in modern women’s apparel, the third such location in Georgia

Rejuvenation, a lighting and house parts store founded in 1977, the fifth location nationwide

J.Crew, the men’s, women’s and children’s fashion store

Coming Soon:

The Frye Company, producer of leather boots and accessories, opening its first Atlanta location and seventh nationwide

Anthropologie, offering cutting edge women’s fashions, gifts and accessories

Goorin Bros. Hat Shop, offering a variety of seasonal hats for men and women; the first location in Georgia

Michael Stars, a women’s apparel store

Lou Lou Accessories, a family-owned jewelry boutique, the first location in the Southeast


PCM - Flats at PCM_1 (1024x682)

Move-ins at the 259-unit Flats at Ponce City Market began last October and they’re 50 percent occupied as of March. Check out the rent for the Flats below.

Studio: $1,288 to $1,396
One Bedroom: $1,567 to $2,362
Two Bedroom: $2,716 to $2,961
Three Bedroom: $3,160 to $3,645

Office Space

Up to 550,000 square feet of loft office space has been set aside in Ponce City Market, with anchor tenants including athenahealth, Jamestown, How Stuff Works, Cardlytics and MailChimp. Additional tenants include SLAM Collaborative and Surber, Barber, Choate & Hertlein.

The Roof at Ponce City Market

Think Coney Island or the boardwalk in Atlantic City, but plopped on a rooftop in Atlanta. Visitors will get to the top in an open cab via the building’s original freight elevator. Once there, they’ll find a full-service restaurant, bar, miniature golf course, boardwalk-style games and more. Opening in 2016. | @patricksaunders