[Renderings] City Hall East to become Ponce City Market — a $180 million project

Caleb J. Spivakreal estate64 Comments

45-acre space to become retail and restaurant mecca.

UPDATE (July 11): Mayor Kasim Reed announces final plans for City Hall East redevelopment

Atlanta’s largest abandoned building will soon be turned into Jamestown Properties’ $180 million Ponce City Market, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle (ABC).

The 45-acre City Hall East on Ponce de Leon Avenue was formerly Sears Roebuck & Co.’s Southern Regional Catalog Distribution Center and is nearly 2 million square feet in size; and that doesn’t include parking decks and other structures.

Nearly 236,500 square feet of the space is slated for retail and another 21,250 square feet for restaurants.

The ABC also reports Jamestown Properties plans to “lure companies that want loft office space.” Click here to view the project’s trademark information.

Check out these additional renderings:



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Caleb J. Spivak[Renderings] City Hall East to become Ponce City Market — a $180 million project

64 Comments on “[Renderings] City Hall East to become Ponce City Market — a $180 million project”

  1. Kevin

    21,250 square feet for restaurants. Of which 20,000 square feet will be mid-priced hamburger joints.

  2. JonC

    I wonder if they plan on mothballing part of the building for a future residential component. I think the loft office concept will do well if it’s priced right. That’s a product you don’t find too much of here.

  3. Jennifer

    Will the hookers still hang out there? I live on Ponce so obviously this doesn’t bother me. However, if people are expected to shop here they won’t want to put up with hookers and/or bums sleeping on the steps.

  4. CP

    Jamestown did White Provision, so I expect they’ll do a better job making this look nice and functional than, say, the Atlantic Station people initially did. I’m all about the adaptive reuse, and the office lofts could look spiffy.

  5. caro

    I SO AGREE! I hope it is something wonderful and not yet another Atlantic Station which is a huge FAIL. Also, how do you clean up the area? I shop whole foods, i work out at urban body but i won;t walk around there, i won’t eat around there, the kroger is the filthiest place in ne atlanta and you have the projects that won’t ever be sold around the bend. It is a HUGE problem.

    btw – Does anyone know the story on all the low rent housing on and around boulevard. I’d love to hear it.

    As for this project, I am really excited to see the plans and can’t think of anything better than to help this area move forward but am hesitant – for some reason that I do not know or understand, these projects don’t go well in Atlanta.

    Also, for reasons I have never understood, the police station was located there and it didn’t stop any of the seedy riff raff from hanging out right there. I once had to call 911 b/c there was a dead body right there and people were walking over it as I drove by – across from the police station! UNREAL!

    So after venting – I wish this project much success as it will mean alot to our area if it thrives. Please design it right, not trendy but modern and classic and clean up the area next to you and across the street! PLEASE!Oh and buy the kroger and burn it down!

    Side note – my father in law told me that the bridge that runs between the sears building and the ford factory lofts was designed for the old ford plant that was there. They would bring parts in by train and inload it on the upper floor to assemble the cars.I thought that was a great story. Check it out next time you drive by.

  6. Chris

    Wow, people are really pessimistic about Atlanta! I don’t think at all this will become a “New Underground” It’s surrounded by some of the most popular intown neighborhoods and it’s on the Beltline. Also as CP said, they did White Provision and that entire development is very successful.

  7. Max

    Until we see what kind of shops are going in, its too early to tell if this is a new underground or not. I think this will do great, you have so many unique things in that area right now coming up, and the development of the beltline skate park behind the structure is perfect timing.

  8. Kwood Resident

    The new AMLI residential properties that are behind this property are upscale and appear to be doing well as well as the retail complex with 4th & Swift. The new park that is behind it and adjoining beltline should help as well.

  9. Mark

    very very very exciting! I do believe that a major part of this is going to be in the execution, so I am glad to see Jamestown is working on this. White Provisions is pretty awesome.
    I would love to see more of a market-style way to shop here… a bakery, wine shop, produce etc… I would love to support that and could definitely use it nearby!

  10. Mark

    also- are they planning on knocking down the big parking deck attached to the building? interesting, especially since they are replacing it with a surface parking lot… maybe that means there are future plans to build something on that site?

  11. JonC

    @Jonathan: the earlier renderings had a building on the corner where the garage is. It’s probably in future plans.

  12. Chris

    Mark, if you look at the rendering it shows the parking deck gone. Just a small surface lot in its place

  13. Arbor

    “Does anyone know the story on all the low rent housing on and around boulevard. I’d love to hear it”

    My understanding is that it is an absentee slumlord from Boston that bought up all the low rent properties on Boulevard back in the 1970’s and has zero intention of cleaning them up or improving them.

  14. InMyBackyard

    The sea of parking on the corner is a HUGE disappointment and will be horrible for traffic. Where’s the lo-rise mixed use building with street level retail? Is this even legal? Once these surface lots go in, they are rarely ever temporary!

  15. Jim Jay

    This place will FAIL unless the City steps up and cleans up Boulevard. Can you imagine how many cars will be broken into…ATL really is a big fail…City Hall needs to grow a pair and take back Boulevard…it could be great.

  16. Greg

    Someone asked, why does everyone think every major development in Atlanta is destined to be another Atlantic Station? Let’s look back at what has happened just in the last decade:

    – The decline of Buckhead
    – The decline of Underground Atlanta
    – The decline of Atlantic Station
    – The decline of Screen on the Green

    Most but not all good things in Atlanta seem to come to an end. They are destroyed by Atlanta’s disproportionate population of gang-banging low-lives that thrive on ruining it for everyone else, typically by instilling violence against themselves and even the innocent. On a per capita basis, the city of Atlanta is now one of the most crime-ridden places in the country.

    Don’t get me wrong, Atlanta is a good city with a lot of good people and passion for building. But I think we all know it’s also full of too many kids that lack good role models and who act a part — and get away with it by a legal and social system which inadvertently enables them to do so. And so it continues.

    We need to Giuliani this city.

  17. Suburbanist

    For a 2,000,000 s.f. building, that is NOT a sea of parking. Even with a significant parking variance, I cannot imagine Jamestown will be able to lease that much space without keeping and/or building a parking deck at some point as they lease up this project. And keep in mind, renderings are just pretty pictures. They seldom are representative of the final project.

  18. Chris (The Other One)

    You people have such strong opinions about development in this city. How about you actually do something besides cry on blogs everyday?

    I honestly don’t see this becoming the “next Underground” because Underground’s demographic is not going to go out of their way to get to whatever the hell this is.

    And to Greg

    Can you elaborate on this?

    “- The decline of Buckhead
    – The decline of Underground Atlanta
    – The decline of Atlantic Station
    – The decline of Screen on the Green”

  19. Inman Parker

    A poster on another site seemed to indicate that the parking lot is temporary and will be developed as the economic situation evolves. I hope that is the case. At first I thought that this might become another atlantic station (especially considering it has a food court), but on second thought I think this area is in a better situation than atlantic station or underground due to the growing population around it.

  20. JonC

    So far White Provisions and the Westside Urban Market haven’t succumbed to the Atlanta Plague, so maybe this project has hope. As long as the tenant mix is such that riffraff won’t bother hanging out there, it should be fine.

  21. Average Commenter

    Atlantic station sucks, rabble rabble rabble, underground, rabble hubbub hubbub, bums and prostitutes, crime! crime!

  22. Slowfood

    I don’t understand why anybody would think this building is worth preserving. It is a big ugly monstrosity and should be torn down. It will never be nice. It wasn’t even nice when it was new.

  23. Greg

    @Chris (The Other One), happy to explain what I mean by “The decline of Buckhead, The decline of Underground Atlanta, The decline of Atlantic Station and The decline of Screen on the Green”

    I presume you are relatively new to the city of Atlanta, but those areas were once places for locals and visitors alike to go and enjoy their free time. In each case, a contingent of youth would create numerous acts of violence against one another as well as innocent people there. This would scare away the innocent people that were just trying to enjoy themselves. As the people left, the businesses left and those places/events are now nothing like they once were.

    This is just the nature of what happens in Atlanta (although I’m sure it happens elsewhere too). Note that I listed those places – generally – in the order of their decline, with Screen On The Green starting to go downhill in the last year or so. As far as Atlantic Station is concerned, just Google “Atlantic Station shooting”; what’s surprising about AS is how quickly it turned into an unsafe place at night, and particularly on weekends.

    Mind you, I’m not alone in this – I’m sharing my opinion but that of many others who are both friends and people I’ve overheard saying the same things.

  24. Chris (The Other One)

    I am in no way defending the “troublemakers” that plague any of those places, but someone might just need to build them entertainment options closer to home.

  25. Chris

    Just don’t put any “urban” stores in it. The ones were thugs like to shop at and drive a van through the door and rob.

  26. cassandra pegsmen lawyer

    Most of the parking will be in the basement level of the building. It will be a huge success. Underground sucks because the location is terrible, the City developed it, and nobody ives anywhere near it. The Boulevard neighborhood is blocks away and won’t impact it. People comparing to Atlantic Station are making thinly veiled racist comments, as the blacks ruined Lenox mall, then Atlantic station blah blah

  27. sara

    I am in no way defending the “troublemakers” that plague any of those places, but someone might just need to build them entertainment options closer to home.

    _______________________________________________________

    That’s been done. The result is they destroy that as well.

    Here’s the catch 22. No matter what you do you will not get rid of crime until you stop the demand. Hookers and drug dealers are making money, you have to dry up the source of that income before the problem will clear up. Putting them in jail is a waste because they are out in a few months and by that time a new crop of trash has been created. I use to see female hookers I havent run across one in the last year or so mostly male now. So I am assmuing the women are sitting in jail and the men have taken their place.

  28. Honest

    @Greg, you beat around the bush and missed one glaring common element, each of the places you listed have been overcome by the blacks. Why do people in this city continue to beat around the bush with this issue? It fact. Taking responsibility and being honest about the problem is the first step in resolving the problem.

  29. Suburbanist

    @Jonathan- The building deserves to be preserved because it has good bones and provides an opportunity for a unique retail/restaurant/office project. It is not, however, “..an incredible piece of 1920’s industrial and retail architecture”. With the exception of the tower element facing Ponce, there is nothing remotely interesting about the exterior of this building. The opportunity for exciting, creative, and unique interior spaces is , however, ample. Let’s all hope Jamestown understands what they have here and doesn’t fail with its tenant mix.

  30. Midtowner

    Is the food/market aspect of this project meant to resemble a other city markets? Like the Pike Place market in Seattle and the French Market in New Orleans. If so, I am on board 100%. Let’s do this.

  31. Inman Parker

    Honest,

    I think people aren’t saying blacks because there are lots of african americans that are great citizens of this city. Blacks would be an inaccurate, blanket statement.

  32. Honest

    @Inman Parker, I 100% agree. Majority are great citizens. It’s the unruly percentage that cause problems and ruin it for the rest of us. Don’t deny fact.

  33. James

    Would y’all prefer:

    1. an abandoned steel mill just off 75/85, causing severe environmental damage to the soil

    or

    2. a development that, while still going through some growing pains, provides a huge, previously non-existent tax base, as well as parks, shops, residences, offices, venue for events, etc.

    Or, how about this:

    1. a virtually abandoned former Sears store right on Ponce that prevents any realistic hope for redevelopment in the surrounding area

    or

    2. a completely renovated structure that is located directly adjacent to the Beltline and could act as a catalyst for other re-development in an area.

    Get with the program, you liberals.

  34. Mike

    James, I agree (and I am “liberal”). I’m surprised these debbie downers haven’t committed suicide yet. You just can’t please everyone. I think Atlanta is the most “critical” city I have ever lived in.

  35. Devin

    No one has mentioned the, from my understanding, very successful Chelsea Market development in NYC by Jamestown Properties. Atlanta is obviously not NYC but I wish them success. I am worried about traffic since I live in the area, however. I don’t Ponce to become another Howell Mill.

    http://www.chelseamarket.com/

  36. JonC

    Chelsea Market (and White Provisions) are both well done, high quality projects so CHE is in good hands. I’m very interested to see how they open it to the Beltline.
    @Devin: I’m hoping North Avenue can take some of the traffic pressure off Ponce.

  37. Bob

    As far as the comment- the decline of Buckhead- I totally have to disagree- if anything Buckhead has improved tremendoulsy in the last ten years. The Buckhead village transformation will only improve the quality of life for Buckhead. The bar scene is no longer dangerous and a ton of fun. My only complaint about Buckhead are the young thugs who hang out at Lennox Square Friday evening and on Saturday. These kids are obviously loitering, so do something about it.

    The city of Atlanta has improved over the last ten years. Centennial Olympic park used to be a ghost town- the Aquarium, World of Coke, and new resteraunts have improved this area. The college football hall of fame and Civil Rights museum will only help this area more.

    The Westside, Brookhaven, and Old Fourth Ward are much better of now than ten years ago.

    However, if this development wants to work they need to clean up Boulevard- bottom line. The area has a ton of potential.

  38. halbert

    Dear new-comers: Bring on the development, baby! The building is there and can be attractive once again. Jamestown knows what it’s doing so everybody calm down and shift the focus to the redevelopment of the Home Depot shopping center. Nice for its time but needs to be redone like “The Grove” in Los Angeles. Great looking architecture drives everything else and Ponce City Market will surely influence the future of The Clermont, Briarcliff Hotel and maybe that crappy Lake Chiropractic Clinic hotel thing. Everything will be ok, even with a surface parking lot on Glen Iris.

  39. JonC

    I don’t see Midtown Place being redeveloped for at least another 10 years. The owner has no incentive to change it; the place is making bank. Unfortunately, the bottom line wins out over aesthetics and urban planning, especially in Atlanta. Does anyone know if the Borders there is going to stay open?

  40. Poncey Resider

    What all of you are forgetting is that MARTA trains run directly to Atlantic Station and Lenox Mall. THAT is the reason for the decline. Anyone can jump on MARTA and go to either location. With the Ponce development you would need a car to get there. Many “undesireables” that might frequent this new development won’t be able to get there without a MARTA train running right to it.

  41. John F

    I live blocks for this and am cautiously hopeful Jamestown can pull this project off. I worry about traffic and such but really, anything is better than what we had 5 years ago or, heaven forbid, if the building sits empty for years. The only thing that really worries me is that every time I look at the building, all I can think is, “damn, that’s a lot of space to fill!” Where will it all come from? I hope it works out.

    As for the people talking about the bums and such, you obviously haven’t spent much time here, lately. I moved in in 2005 and the Glen Iris corridor isn’t John’s Creek but it has improved drastically over the last few years. The AMLI buildings (They bought 660, as well) and now the new Historic 4th Ward park have completely changed the feel of the neighborhood. People walking their dogs and jogging along Glen Iris are now the norm instead of the curious exception. Although now that Phase II of the park is open, I suspect people will opt for that instead of decidedly non-pedestrian-friendly Glen Iris.

    Another thing that has helped greatly has been the Beltline. I don’t mean the pie in the sky “idea” of the beltline, I mean the actual work that has been done so far on the Northeast corridor. That rail-line was literally infested with homeless encampments. Dozens and dozens of them. They’ve all been removed thanks to the hard work of citizens during Beltline Clean-up projects. (Well, there are still a few under the Freedom Parkway bridge but that is pretty far from this area) I’m not sure where those people have gone but I do not see them in the neighborhood any longer.

    As for the low-rent section-8 housing on Boulevard, I suspect nothing will be done with those buildings until that private property owner (not based in Atlanta) loses their federal Section-8 accreditation. As far as I understand it, they are not interested in selling (As if anyone is buying right now, anyway) and there’s little the city can do to motivate them to improve their buildings as long as they are up to code. But eventually, either economics or loss of section-8 will force those buildings onto the market.

  42. Urbanist

    So what is going to happen with the remaining ~1.75mm sf?

    @ Slowfood – piss poor idea. That thought process is what has contributed to a lot of Atlanta’s fractious development patterns. Instead of maintaining old buildings for adaptive re-use, this city has a fascination with tearing them down for lifeless boring structures. This building is an excellent building and needs to be maintained at all costs.

    @ Poncey Resider – moron puts it best. First, no MARTA train runs to AS. Second, your implication that public transportation is destructive to cities is flat our stupid.

    @ Mike – Atlanta is the most “critical” city there is, because there is a lot to be critical of. My personal opinion is that a lot of the in-town population of Atlanta is a population of people from other cities, or at least with experience living in other cities. They come to, or come back to, Atlanta with the hope and expectation that they’re coming back to a city that provides real urban services / amenities. When they get here and realize that the city of Atlanta is anything but, yet with the opportunity to be so easily turned into a real city, it conjures up a lot of righteous criticism.

  43. Mike

    This will not be Atlantic Station or Underground. The problem with both of those is easy access from MARTA (a free shuttle from Arts Center and a direct tunnel from Five Points, respectively). A high-profile project in a gentrifying area cannot handle easy MARTA access with the idiots we have running the city.

  44. SMH

    Yet another posting about the “undesirables” ruining it for everyone. @Poncey Resider what train have you taken into AS? Just curious. I think that Jamestown shouldn’t even waste its time. The racist cheerleaders are already wondering what’s going to happen to the projects next door. NOTHING! The “undesirables” are going to remain and they will probably loiter around this place. So save yourself the energy of complaining later. It’s going to happen.

    I think these developments need to stop trying to force people out of the elements in hopes of “:cleaning up” the area. And then complaining that the “thugs are going to shop here”. Well guess what, the people that live in those projects have been there for probably their entire lives so leave them alone. If you don’t like the area, live somewhere else, shop somewhere. But don’t complain about something that has been there long before you came along.

    Atlanta is filling up with ignorant people that wish they were in NYC or DC…this is Atlanta. I’m all for a better city just like anyone else, but some things are just better left alone.

  45. Urbanist

    @ SMH – so you think we should stop trying to “clean up” our city. Atlanta is filling up with people who are well-educated people, with a motivation for reform. It’s filling up with people who want a nice, crime-free lifestyle, and therefore want to clean up areas and get rid of these undesirables.

    You say in the same post that you’re all for a better city, but that we should stop trying to “clean it up”. It’s people like you – stodgy, NIMBY’istic, ignorant, and defensive of a bad element, that prevent Atlanta from being something so much more. Fortunately, people like you are weak and incapable of stoping real progress. You might delay it, but you can’t stop it. So here’s to a better city, and cleaning up your kind of element.

  46. Wes

    I just wasted my time reading what all you negative people had to say about this development. I guess you all would rather see it stay the rundown hideout for vagrants and hookers that it is now. People like you are the reason it is so hard to generate support for creative developments like this one. May be you chickens**t suburbanites should come into the city a little more and take advantage of these “declining” developments. You might be surprised, not everyone inside the Perimeter is a gang banger. I am sure it is more satisfying to typing this crap from your Pulti home in Woodstock. Sweet life, I’ll meet you at Chili’s on Friday for some jalapeno poppers.

  47. Midtown Dweller

    The Ponce City Market could be a great venture, we will see, but as long as we ignore the elephant in the room, and throw around the race card everytime someone wants to clean up the streets, it is doomed to failure!

    I suspect that the population of upper and middle class blacks want rid of the thugs as badly as anyone in town. Where is the APD and City Hall leadership? The mayor should make it clear that there is no place for thugs, thumping cars, drugs, and prostition on the streets of ATL. Back to the same old problem in Atlanta, more voters than tax payers and no one will take a stand.

    The Miracle Mile in Chicago was developed within walking distance of the most notorious housing projects anywhere, Caprini Green! Yet the city and police drew the line on loitering and crime, and it is a premier destination.

    And yes, the thugs took down Buckhead as a tourist destination, and now have turned their attention on Atlantic Station, there is no denying it. Poor Underground has never had a chance, even when forcing Braves MARTA riders though it…

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