Re-Awakening A Sleeping Giant

W Allen Bell on April 9, 2012

Huge, enormous, behemoth... Early in the morning April 3, 2012, 35 hardhat wearing Atlanta friends boarded the big, dark cargo elevator at the heart of the largest brick building in the Southeast. At 2.1 million square feet, the almost 90 year-old Sears buildings provide Jim Irwin and Jamestown Properties a solid structure to bring up to modern, efficient and eco-friendly standards. Across America in the roaring 1920's, Sears built 16 regional, railroad connected, retail, warehousing and distribution buildings like the complex that is becoming Ponce City Market.
Jim Irwin welcomes CityLights friends before touring the site.Jim Irwin welcomes CityLights friends before touring the site.


One need only visit the Westside Retail area beside the Atlanta Waterworks to glimpse a small scale of the gestalt Jamestown works to replicate making old, industrial, Atlanta city spaces into vibrant locations for many growing companies and local restaurants and retail. The industrial capacity of the Sears property between North Avenue and Ponce De Leon enables integrating free Up On The Roof - Plans include a park-like space reminiscent of the small amusement park at the Santa Monica Pier with street food from crane hoisted popular Atlanta food trucks.Up On The Roof - Plans include a park-like space reminiscent of the small amusement park at the Santa Monica Pier with street food from crane hoisted popular Atlanta food trucks.parking inside two of the existing wings of the larger buildings and demolishing the antiquated parking structures to create more green spaces. 

Soon a corner outparcel will be opened as community event space and a new location for Decatur's beloved Dancing Goats Coffee Bar. The railroad connections of the Sears complex are also being transformed as Summer 2012 the Atlanta BeltLine takes over the right of way making Ponce City Market's renewal a hub of the BeltLine between Piedmont Park and Grant Park.

The project is currently in the demolition stages, but special care is being taken to preserve the look and feel of the original structure and integrating existing artifacts into the rebuild phase, which is scheduled to begin this June.

 

A few one-of-a-kind restaurants have already committed to being housed in the market space. The heart of the building will also include stalls for fifteen to twenty specialized shopping sites, such as a true butcher, cheese monger and local farmstands. Seeing the insides of the buildings make the comparisons to Seattle's Pike Place Market seem wonderfully accurate. Located in the midst of five vibrant Atlanta neighborhoods, Ponce City Market stands to be a place where shopping, living and working will enrich many Atlanta lives. For more information about Ponce City Market, go to www.poncecitymarket.com.

Jim Irwin's work with his colleagues at Jamestown Properties is the kind of urban renewal that will bless generations of Atlantan's just like Sears original investment helped strengthen the area.

 

The next CityLights will be lunch at the amazing Frazer Center on Tuesday, May 1, 2012, from 11:30 to 12:45. Hope you can join us!