The largest adaptive reuse project in Atlanta’s history, the Old Fourth Ward neighbourhood is now home to the colourful Ponce City Market. Housed in a historic Sears, Roebuck & Company building, Ponce City Market in Atlanta is a 2.1 million-square-foot development – the brainchild of development firm Jamestown (also behind New York City’s famed Chelsea Market) – currently with 550,000 square feet of Class-A loft office space and 300,000 square feet of retail and restaurants.

The project’s pulsing heart is the Central Food Hall, which is home to dine-in restaurants and grab-and-go-market stalls offering everything from tasty Indian street food at Botiwalla and fried poultry at Hop’s Chicken to Latin-inspired sandwiches and small plates at El Super Pan. The culinary smorgasbord also includes food concepts by James Beard award-winning chefs, such as Anne Quatrano’s W.H. Stiles Fish Camp, Linton Hopkins’ H&F Burger, Jonathan Waxman’s Brezza Cucina and Sean Brock’s Mexican joint Minero. For beef jerk and booze, pull up a bar stool at South African-inspired Biltong Bar. If a glass of Prosecco with a charcuterie board is more your style, find a seat at cosy Italian eatery Bellina Alimentari., top your meal off with a Chocolate Sea Salt popsicle at King of Pops Bar & Good Grub or a scoop of Toasted Marshmallow ice cream at Honeysuckle Gelato.

Ponce City Market

When you can’t eat anymore, take your cravings into the one-of-a-kind retailers and purchase goods to take home. Collier Candy Company sells old-fashioned sweets; Strippaggio retails small-batch extra virgin olive oils and gourmet spices; and 18.21 Bitters helps you stock your at-home bar with premium bitters, syrups, tinctures, shrubs, old-fashioned tonic, ginger beer and more. You can also pop into the outposts of national retailers such as West Elm and Williams-Sonoma or head outside to peruse the well-made fashions of Goorin Bros. Hat ShopThe Frye Company and Rye 51, among others.

Continue your exploration by heading upstairs and across the pedestrian bridge which links Ponce City Market’s public market and interior courtyard with the BeltLine’s bustling Eastside Trail. Even the rooftop of this innovative project was expertly thought through. Visitors can also take the historic freight elevator (original to the building) up to Skyline Park and partake in carnival amusements inspired by New York’s Coney Island.

A visit to Ponce City Market in Atlanta is about much more than eating, shopping or playing – it’s about experiencing the second life of a storied structure and the important role it plays in a thriving Atlanta neighbourhood.

Written by Giannina Smith Bedford