Ponce City Market and Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Corridor

Have you caught a glimpse inside the two million square foot building that occupies an entire city block between Ponce de Leon Avenue and North Avenue? Thanks to Jamestown Properties, this sleeping giant is experiencing a rebirth. The former Sears Building turned City Hall East is facing a bright future as the mixed-use development Ponce City Market. As the largest brick building in the southeast, Ponce City Market offers plenty of space and plenty of opportunity to connect neighborhoods, parks, residents, restaurants, retail and business. One of the best connections is the spur off of the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail directly into (what will be) the second floor of the building and an open-air plaza.

Ponce City Market tour 2012
This bank of windows will become residential condos / apartments.

The Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail runs along the eastern border of the project. Take trails, transit, and park space and add in a shopping and dining destination and residential density and this area starts to paint a picture-perfect story of redevelopment.

Density plays a significant role in supporting transit ridership and trail use – and the Atlanta BeltLine vision. Old Fourth Ward and Inman Park are a shining example of neighborhoods exploding with growth and development along the corridor in anticipation of the Atlanta BeltLine. You can see the newer buildings in the photo below (with Historic Fourth Ward Park to the left). AMLI will be putting a new apartment complex in the empty lot just south of North Avenue – the road seen in this photo.

Ponce City Market tour 2012
The parking lot seen here will have a “lid” put on it in the next few months to make it flush with North Avenue. It will have underground parking and serve as a direct connection to Historic Fourth Ward Park.

People want to live near parks and greenspace, they want to be able to walk to amenities, they want to ditch the car and hit the trail. Historic Fourth Ward Park planted a desirable amenity where an empty lot stood for years. People started repopulating the neighborhood and new condos and apartments are going up around it.

Ponce City Market tour 2012
A panoramic view of how Ponce City Market parallels the Eastside Trail.

In the month of June, Atlanta BeltLine staff accompanied Jamestown staff on four different information sessions and tours. Each presentation covered the impact the passage of the Transportation Referendum would have on Ponce City Market and included a remarkable tour of the building. Highlights of the tour included a visit to the rooftop with views of the Eastside Trail all the way up to Piedmont Park and a walk out onto the Eastside Trail from the long, corrugated metal shed alongside the brick building.

Ponce City Market tour 2012
The Eastside Trail (and the bridge over Ponce de Leon Avenue) as seen from the roof of Ponce City Market.

The Atlanta BeltLine corridor shown above will accommodate the 14-foot-wide multi-use trail right next to transit. If the Transportation Referendum passes, we would see transit construction taking place on the old rail corridor within the next fewyears. A crosstown connection could also run along North Avenue (or 10th Street), transporting residents and visitors from all over the city to Historic Fourth Ward Park and the trail. Without the referendum, it will take several more years before we see transit on the Atlanta BeltLine.

Ponce City Market tour 2012
A stitched, panoramic photo from the roof of Ponce City Market, looking south towards Historic Fourth Ward Park and North Avenue, the future site of a crosstown transit connection.

The Eastside Trail, combined with Ponce City Market, will reconnect neighborhoods historically disjointed by the railroad. From Virginia Highland to Midtown to Poncey-Highlands to Old Fourth Ward to Inman Park, the linear greenspace will grow to bridge the gap as residents easily pass back and forth across the open corridor. Ponce City Market will turn an empty building into a thriving hub of activity. With a pedestrian spur trail onto the Eastside Trail, one can see how buildings that once had their back to the railroad are starting to turn their front doors onto the Atlanta BeltLine.

See more photos of the Eastside Trail from Ponce City Market in addition to photos from inside the building.

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