Today, concrete was poured on the roof of next summer’s biggest opening: PONCE CITY MARKET has been topped out, according to Patch.


Us few native Atlantans still call it the “Old Sears Building on Ponce”– de Leon Avenue, that is. Built in 1926 as the distribution center for the entire southeast and a Sears, Roebuck & Co. retail store, it is the largest brick structure in the southeastern US. For 60 years, anything you ordered from the ubiquitous Sears catalog was shipped out of this building, if you lived in the southeast.

The old Sears on Ponce de Leon Avenue
The old Sears on Ponce de Leon Avenue
The old railroad trestle, to be restored… location of the Atlanta BeltLine.
Before renovation
Before renovation

Next summer, however, it will emerge as the largest historic adaptive reuse project in Atlanta’s history. Ponce City Market will encompass 1.1 million square feet of space, creating a vibrant urban centerpiece that combines 330,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, 475,000 square feet of office space and 259 residential units.


“The redevelopment will focus on preserving the building’s historic character and sustaining its connection with the community. Ponce City Market will reflect the authenticity of the historic structure and the surrounding neighborhoods, returning the building to its prominence as a thriving landmark in the Southeast.

The evolution of Ponce City Market will incorporate a pedestrian network, city parks and access to new BeltLine trails, linking dynamic intown neighborhoods with the convenience and comfort of highly desirable retail, dining, exceptional residences and Class-A loft office space.

As a development born of integrity, in 2014 Ponce City Market is destined to emerge as Atlanta’s next great urban experience,” according to developer Jamestown Properties.

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Retail area
Food Hall

PONCE CITY MARKET will include a great Food Hall, a 50-60,000-square-foot space where local artisans and chefs prepare fresh foods and local offerings. This is to be patterned after the great Chelsea Market in New York and Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Bon Appetit said that ‘food halls are the new food trucks’, so it will be undoubtedly foodie-friendly.

Most retail offerings have yet to be announced, but already opened is Dancing Goats Coffee Bar and a nationally recognized design firm Tracery Interiors.  Also, will be a Binders Art Store, a restaurant by highly acclaimed Atlanta chef Anne Quatrano, and 4-6 more restaurants. The roof will offer drinks and food, miniature golf, nostalgic amusement rides, and a railroad car as a nod to Atlanta’s beginnings and the railroad that was adjacent and is now the Atlanta BeltLine.

Box car on roof

Technology companies like Cardlytics and AthenaHealth, as well as the Suzuki School, will be among the office tenants.Ponce City Market is one of several areas in Atlanta that has been approved for the Georgia Opportunity Zone. This means that companies (both retail and office) will be eligible for an income tax credit of $3,500 for each new job they create over two employees.

They are pursuing a LEED Core & Shell Silver certification by installing water efficient fixtures and landscaping, reclaiming rainwater and other building-generated water, and using the latest in LED lighting and efficient HVAC systems.

Green features:

  • Thousands of tons of materials will be recycled or reused during redevelopment.
  • The reuse alone is equivalent to saving 1,198,050,000 MBTUs total energy from the existing building (instead of constructing the same amount of new space). That equals 10,417,826 gallons of gasoline, or 12,501 trips around the equator at 30 mpg.
  • Highly-efficient HVAC system with variable speed water source heat pumps
  • Sub-metered electrical panels to manage and measure tenant energy use
  • Tenants can measure the effects of their own efficient lighting and equipment programs and encourage employees to participate in energy conserving practices.
  • Fully restored windows that create a tight envelope and minimize heating and cooling costs
  • A targeted energy savings above minimum code in a range of 10% to 15% is quite a feat in an 85 year old building!
  • Waterless urinals and low-flow fixtures
  • Result: savings of 1,000,000 gallons annually.
  • LED lighting
  • Green cleaning materials and equipment will mean healthy air and water for employees.
  • Electric charging stations and preferred parking for low emissions vehicles
  • Bike Valet, changing facilities and showers to encourage alternative commuting options
  • If only 10% of users arrive by bicycle or on foot, there would be 1,000+ cyclists and pedestrians clean commuting to Ponce daily.
  • State-of-the-art recycling stations
  • Recaptured rainwater and reclaimed water for site irrigation
  • Result: 50% reduction in site water use.
The Square, a portion of the Atlanta BeltLine between Ponce City Market and the old Ford Factory Lofts
aerial view
aerial view
Amazing 1950's artist rendering showing futuristic electric tram next to the old Sears building... a striking resemblance to the actual future!
Amazing 1950’s artist rendering showing futuristic electric tram next to the old Sears building… a striking resemblance to the actual future!

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