Ponce City Market, a mixed-use development, located on Ponce de Leon Avenue, embodies Atlanta’s revitalization. With over a million square feet of retail and residential space, this community is rapidly becoming Atlanta’s most prominent hub for economic consumption. As I perused through the eclectic boutiques and elegant restaurants, it was evident that this neighborhood is restoring Atlanta’s rich history and culture.
Historically, Ponce de Leon Springs was the first landmark on the property which appeared in the 1860’s. The Springs served as a transportation gathering for the city that provided trolleys from downtown to Metro-Atlanta communities. The natural landscape also attracted nature-lovers and adventurers. Afterwards, in the early 1900’s, recreational and entertainment facilities had been constructed. In 1903, the Ponce de Leon Amusement Park opened to the public. The park attempted to embody a “Coney Island” experience with southern fundamentals. The attraction was frequented by families and friends. Recreation occurred in the year 1907 with the establishment of the Ponce de Leon Baseball Park. It served as a venue for an Atlanta minor league team, the Atlanta Crackers. Interestingly, the baseball field was originally a lake, but the body of water was drained and then renovated to an architectural structure. However, the site then transitioned to meet the evolving industry. The first building on the present site of Ponce City Market was a Sears department store and regional office, which stood from 1926 until 1979. As the rise of department stores flourished throughout the United States, Ponce de Leon reacted to the consumer trends. Then, as years elapsed, the site transformed into East City Hall. The city of Atlanta purchased the property in 1990 and began constructing offices for local governmental bodies. As time elapsed, these buildings were officially closed in 2010, thus perpetuating the beginning of Ponce City Market’s development. The city of Atlanta sold the property to a private-sector entity, Jamestown Properties, that invested into the restoration of the community. In 2011, construction for the mixed-use development started to occur. Eventually, the first restaurant, Dancing Goats, was opened in 2012, which marked the inception of revitalized land in downtown. In present day, Ponce City Market continues to prosper with its urban atmosphere and elaborate businesses. Nowadays, the market remains open and new shops are constantly being integrated in order to expand consumer needs. For instance, Google Fiber newly opened to the public this year and sells innovative technology to Atlantans.
Ultimately, Ponce City Market exhibits a vivid new era in downtown Atlanta and the modern trend of mixed-use developments in urban architecture. Whether it be smooth coffee, fancy boutiques, or artisanal cuisine, they are all within walking distance in a culturally and historically stunning neighborhood. As a resident of Atlanta, I am lucky to have the convenience of Ponce City Market.