A 1920s Sears, Roebuck & Co. warehouse has taken on new life as a thriving, urban mixed-use development in Midtown Atlanta. Members of the NAIOP National Forums had an exclusive tour of the property and an extensive Q&A with the investment and construction leads from Jamestown, the project’s developer, during the National Forums Symposium 2016.
A Project Steeped in History: The project is situated on the site of a natural spring, thought to have waters that kept one young. The name is a nod to Ponce de Leon, eternally on the quest for the elusive “Fountain of Youth.” In the 1900s, it was home to a modern-day fair.
1926: Sears, Roebuck & Co. built on the site because of its proximity to the railroad, and Ford built a facility directly across the tracks. In the 1970s, Sears’ business declined and they vacated the building. The city of Atlanta purchased it in the ’90s with the intention of establishing “City Hall East” and creating energy in a blighted neighborhood. It never came to fruition, and in 2011, developer Jamestown bought the land.
New Life as a Mixed-Use Development: Four short years later, the 10-story, 2.1 million-square-foot structure reopened as restored mixed-use development housing best-in-class office, retail and residential spaces. At the center is a food hall that draws unique purveyors of eats and drinks, surrounded by retail and topped by office. On the roof? New event space and an outdoor carnival complete with a miniature golf course and rides.
While the project is situated at the crossroads of some major thoroughfares, its “second front door” is the Beltline, a sustainable redevelopment project that will provide a network of public parks, multiuse trails and transit along a historic 22-mile railroad corridor circling downtown and connecting neighborhoods. Bike riders, joggers and strollers have immediate access to the Market, where they can “valet rack” their bikes and head in to eat or shop.
Location is Key: From its landmark location in Old Fourth Ward, Ponce City Market has become a connection point for the exciting mix of adjoining neighborhoods, and beyond—including Virginia Highland, Midtown, Inman Park, Poncey-Highland, Morningside, Candler Park and Druid Hills.
Making it Green: Jamestown says Ponce City Market is pursuing a LEED Core & Shell Silver-level certiﬁcation. By installing water-efficient fixtures and landscaping, reclaiming rain water and other building-generated water, and using the latest in LED lighting and efficient HVAC systems in the base building, Ponce City Market offers tenants a space that is sustainable and efficient to operate for years to come.
Among the green features:
- Thousands of tons of materials are being recycled or reused during redevelopment. The reuse alone is equivalent to saving 1,198,050,000 MBTUs of 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 measure and manage tenant energy use. This allows tenants to measure effects of personal efficient lighting and equipment programs; employees may also participate in measuring energy-conserving practices.
- Fully-restored, original steel-frame windows create a tight envelope and minimize heating and cooling costs. Targeted energy savings above minimum code is 10 to 15 percent – an impressive feat in a 90-year-old building.
- Waterless urinals and low-ﬂow ﬁxtures. Result: savings of 1,000,000 gallons annually.
- Energy-saving, LED lighting.
- Green cleaning materials and equipment means healthier air and water for employees, tenants and visitors.
- Electric charging stations and preferred parking for low-emission vehicles. Also, bicycle valet services, along with changing facilities and showers to encourage alternative commuting options. If only 10 percent 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 percent reduction in site water use.
Kathryn Hamilton is Vice President for Marketing and Communications at NAIOP Corporate.