The Big Peach is ripe for retail.
Construction is booming, with new homes, condominiums and town houses sprouting up, as well as office space. The Atlanta Regional Commission forecasts that the population of Atlanta will increase in the double and triple digits in several pockets from 2010 to 2020, especially in more affluent neighborhoods of north Atlanta.
People are shopping, but not so much at malls, resulting in three hot retail areas — Ponce City Market, Westside Provisions District and The Shops at Buckhead Atlanta — becoming shopping streetscapes. And North American Properties plans to add another area to the mix, as revitalization plans get under way at Colony Square next year. NAP bought the property, which originally opened more than 40 years ago, last December.
According to Ron Pfahl, partner and director of leasing at NAP, the company plans to rebuild the existing retail area for a more vibrant space of 250,000 square feet with a mix of retail including fashion, home furnishings and tech; restaurants; and a theater. NAP will lease to e-commerce retailers that want to open stores, making it different from other Atlanta projects. The complex also has two office towers, three midrise condo buildings and a W Hotel. “We’re in the heart of Midtown and at the crossroads of all of Atlanta,” said Pfahl. “We have 77 cultural centers around us, and it’s a hotbed of growth for commerce.” Here, a look at the city’s three hot areas.
PONCE CITY MARKET
Jamestown L.P. restored the old Sears, Roebuck & Co. on Ponce de Leon as a marketplace with fashion, home furnishings and food, as well as office and residential on upper levels. It even has the Skyline Park amusement park on the roof. This landmark building is linked to the Atlanta BeltLine, a 22-mile stretch of hiking and biking trail circling the core of intown neighborhoods. It’s a popular dining spot, especially with its vast Central Food Hall, fashioned after New York’s Chelsea Market.
Stores include Lily Rain, Lululemon Athletica, Madewell, Marine Layer, Ponce Denim Co., Mountain High Outfitters, Michael Stars, Anthropologie, Rye 51, Elk Head Clothing, The Frye Co., Citizen Supply and Q Clothier. Michael Phillips, president of Jamestown, said the company transformed the massive 2.1 million-square-foot structure — used by Sears from 1926 to 1979 as regional headquarters, warehouse and store — into smaller spaces.
According to the Environmental System Research Institute, sourced by the ARC, the Ponce City Market demographic is dominated by 25- to 34-year-olds, followed by 34- to 44-year-olds, with household income mainly in the $50,000 to $150,000 range. Rents are up 28 percent in the past five years.
WESTSIDE PROVISIONS DISTRICT
Westside was founded in 2008 as a marketing partnership between two adjacent developments: Westside Urban Market and White Provisions, located on what remains of Atlanta’s first meatpacking facility. Westside Urban Market was first redeveloped in 1998 by TuckerMott Cos. and won a Development of Excellence award for adaptive use from the Atlanta Urban Design Commission. Jamestown and Westbridge Partners redeveloped the adjacent parcel, including the historic White Provision building, winning awards from the Urban Land Institute of Atlanta, the ARC and the Livable Communities Coalition.
The two, linked by a bridge over railroad tracks, have outdoor seating with tables. Anthropologie, Billy Reid, Sid Mashburn, Free People, Calypso St. Barth, J. Crew, Lilith, Lululemon Athletica, Roberta Roller Rabbit and Ann Mashburn are among its retailers. Phillips said the goal is to have one-third each in fashion, home furnishings and food for Ponce City Market and Westside Provisions.
Westside Provisions draws a slightly older and more monied crowd than Ponce City Market, Phillips said. It’s in a growing area and is close to north Atlanta, which has a healthy disposable income, as well as to Georgia Tech. Real estate information agency CoStar says in the past five years, area rents are up about 27 percent.
THE SHOPS AT BUCKHEAD ATLANTA
This high-end development is in the heart of Buckhead, where the largest income bracket is $200,000 and up, so it’s no surprise that this is home to retailers like Hermès, Dior Boutique, Tom Ford, Christian Louboutin, Canali, Attom, Jimmy Choo, Nars, Bonobos, Etro and many more — 56 tenants by yearend. Rents are up about 22 percent in the past five years. The streetscape shopping environment encloses eight acres across six city blocks in the village of Buckhead. A few storefronts are on Peachtree Road. The streets are brick-paved and pedestrian-friendly, and the landscaping is lush.
Among its restaurants are the upscale Le Bilboquet, Southern Gentleman and Shake Shack. It’s the headquarters for Spanx, and offers other office space and residential. It has a high-end farmers market with more than 30 vendors every Sunday, and a First Friday outdoor event each month with food and entertainment. Shake Shack and Corso host a Peachtree Road Race viewing party on July 4 along the center’s city block of Peachtree Road, with music by Yacht Rock’s DJ. This month it introduced Style South, a two-day fashion event.
Dene Oliver, ceo of OliverMcMillan, the San Diego-based developer that owns the project, said, “When we envisioned The Shops at Buckhead Atlanta, we wanted to create a special destination for the community. Style South aligns with our vision.”