Historic Buildings to Help Get Atlanta Past Housing Crisis

Atlanta’s Ponce de Leon Market, formerly a distribution center for Sears Roebuck, is being redeveloped into a mixed-use property, featuring retail, office and residential space. The market’s location along Atlanta’s BeltLine have city planners hailing it as a potential economic engine for the eastern end of they city.

A view of the historic Ponce de Leon Market in the east end of Atlanta. Credit: Flickr user Wayne Hsieh

During the housing boom of the early 2000s, Atlanta became one of the more desirable metropolitan areas in the country. Young professionals, drawn by the number of corporations based in Atlanta, flocked to the city and surrounding suburban communities, which seemed to spread ever outward.

However, as chronicled in a June Forefront article, the 2008 recession exposed flaws behind Atlanta’s rapid growth, and the city once again found itself in the spotlight as one of those hit worst by the housing crisis. The symptoms were all too familiar: Scantly occupied high rises, partially completed housing developments out in the suburbs and exurbs, and boarded up businesses and houses lining the streets of many communities.

But things might not stay this way for too long. Earlier this year, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported on a fresh crop of New Urbanist developers that has emerged amidst the carnage of the Great Recession.

At the center of this new movement is Katharine Kelley, president and CEO of Green Street Properties and director of Jamestown Properties.

Kelley has spent her career revitalizing historic sites throughout Atlanta. Her first major endeavor focused on the restoration of the Castle, a city landmark that had fallen into disrepair.

Kelley’s current project, however, is on an entirely different scale: In 2011, Jamestown Properties bought the Ponce City Market, a 2 million-square-foot former Sears Roebuck distribution center from the city of Atlanta for $15.4 million. The company has said it intendeds to model the redevelopment of the Ponce City Market after perhaps its most high-profile project, the Chelsea Market Manhattan.

The project will be completed by 2014. It has been estimated that Jamestown Properties will have to invest around $180 million into the property, which will become a mix of retail, dining, office and residential space.

Located in the center of the Atlanta BeltLine, the Ponce City Market is seen as the ingredient that will enable the project to reach its full potential as a catalyst for the revitalization of the Old Fourth Ward and Ponce de Leon. Planners envision the market emerging as a hub for commercial activity for the east end of Atlanta, with the building’s retail spaces and restaurants completing an afternoon bike trip or hike along the BeltLine.

Like what you’re reading? Get a browser notification whenever we post a new story. You’re signed-up for browser notifications of new stories. No longer want to be notified? Unsubscribe.

Tags: infrastructureeconomic developmentinclusionary zoningatlantahistoric preservationsprawl

Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×

You've reached your monthly limit of three free stories.

This is not a paywall. Become a free or sustaining member to continue reading.

  • Read unlimited stories each month
  • Our email newsletter
  • Webinars and ebooks in one click
  • Our Solutions of the Year magazine
  • Support solutions journalism and preserve access to all readers who work to liberate cities

Join 924 other sustainers such as:

  • Anonymous in Cambridge, MA at $5/Month
  • Molly at $5/Month
  • Beatriz at $10/Month

Already a member? Log in here. U.S. donations are tax-deductible minus the value of thank-you gifts. Questions? Learn more about our membership options.

or pay by credit card:

All members are automatically signed-up to our email newsletter. You can unsubscribe with one-click at any time.

  • Solutions of the year 2022

    Donate $20 or $5/Month

    2022-2023 Solutions of the Year magazine

  • Brave New Home

    Donate $40 or $10/Month

    Brave New Home by Diana Lind