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O4W: Ponce City Market to reshape City Hall East | Business

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O4W: Ponce City Market to reshape City Hall East

ATLANTA --   For more than a year, it's been the largest vacant building in town -- a ten story brick behemoth with ideas and speculation almost equal to its massive volume.

Originally a Sears distribution center, then an oversized City Hall annex, it is now tentatively in the hands of a development company that wants to call it Ponce City Market -- with a $180 million fixup.

"It's a beautiful historic site but also lends itself, I think, to becoming a job node in this part of town," said city councilman Kwanza Hall, who sees jobs and industry in Ponce City Market. An artist rendering reveals a bricked, mixed-use shopping and commercial development that mimics a successful redevelopment in New York called Chelsea Market, which took an old biscuit plant and made it into a place with some retail muscle. Hall says the Ponce City Market could do that and more.

"I think the community is really really waiting anxiously to see the development that will come of City Hall East," Hall said.

The development calls for loft office spaces, in a market with plenty of unused office space. Hall doesn't think that's a problem, suggesting they industrial-type space would be suitable for "creative" industries like film and graphic design.

"This is industrial raw type space, that you really don't get in a downtown office building. So this is a different submarket. It's a different offering," Hall said.