Inman Park, one of Atlanta’s finest, coolest, and most historic neighborhoods, is experiencing another renaissance.
Planned in the late 1880’s, Inman Park was Atlanta’s first streetcar neighborhood. It was designed to showcase nature with greenspaces, curvilinear boulevards, and a few ponds. Grand homes were constructed in the Queen Anne, Italianate, Romanesque and American styles, as well as more modest bungalows.
Samuel Inman partnered with Joel Hurt (co-founder of Trust Company of Georgia, now SunTrust– Coke’s bank) to build Inman Park. The Inman family was wealthy from railroads, steamships, the Kimball House Hotel in Atlanta, and cotton manufacturing. Inman was also a great philanthropist helping in the early days of Georgia Tech.
Falling into disrepair in the mid 20th century, it’s first renaissance began in 1969 with the restoration of the Beath-Dickey House, an elaborate three story Queen Anne with round tower and open turret built in 1896. Thanks to the forsight and talents of interior designer Bob Griggs and his partner Robert Aiken, the restoration of Inman Park had begun. Many old Atlanta neighborhoods were given new life by the works of gay families and other urban pioneers.
Meticulously restored mansions, one of the historic Candler homes of Coca-Cola (there are 3 in Atlanta), and the beautiful Trolley Barn remain, as well as numerous commercial storefronts creating a true village from another era. Each year, Inman Park has one of the city’s best neighborhood festivals , as well as, Inman Park Restaurant Week.
Atlanta’s BeltLine, a multi-use trail with future light rail, which will connect neighborhoods encircling Atlanta with Piedmont Park, Zoo Atlanta, and other new parks, runs right through Inman Park. New townhomes, condos, and upscale apartments have been built in place of industrial zones which had sprung up in the 50’s and 60’s. Inman Park is next to the Carter Presidential Library & Museum, Freedom Park, and Little Five Points, an eclectic East Village-like urban shopping, funky restaurants & bars.
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Today, two swank mixed use developments are under construction:
280 Elizabeth St and Krog St Market.
280 Elizabeth St is a $45 million, high designed urban “place”. The project includes 200 apartments, 39,000 square feet of retail space and at least three new restaurants and a “green roof”. A water wall designed to lure pedestrians into the green space heart of the project, which will connect to an existing small park and pond. The 570 space parking garage will be completely internal, not to be seen from the surrounding streets.
Three major restaurants include Ford Fry’s spin-off of The Optimist, featuring an oyster bar, craft cocktail and beer bar, and a wood-burning oven for roasted fish. MF Sushi will be placed along a portion of the development’s greenspace. Finally, the owners of Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant will open its Bartaco.
Nearby, Krog Street Market is under construction, transforming a 1920’s warehouse complex (that once served as Tyler Perry’s studios) into a diverse, culinary-driven destination for Atlanta’s intown culture – those who are always searching for unique, specialty creations. It will encompass fresh produce and prepared food stalls, with restaurants and retail shops. Purveyors will include: Asha Gomez’ Spice Road Chicken, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Sarah O’Brien’s Little Tart Bakeshop, Fred’s Meat & Bread, Gu’s Dumplings, Ford Fry’s Superica, Top Chef alum Eli Kirshtein’s The Luminary, The Cockentrice, Grand Champion BBQ, Pannus Bakery, and even home-made treats for our four-legged buddies, at Inman Park Pet Works.
Existing restaurants not to be missed: Next door, Rathbun’s and Kevin Rathbun’s Steaks has delivered award-winning dinners for a decade and is opening their new patio with outdoor fireplace and comfy chairs overlooking the BeltLine in March. And, nearby, Inman Park’s Parish, Wrecking Bar Brewpub, and Victory Sandwich Bar, Terrapin Beer Company and Jittery Joe’s Coffee at One Eared Stag, Folk Art, ColdLife Organics, Kale Me Crazy, Il Localino, Wisteria, SottoSotto and Fritti.