Panorama of my town

Panorama of my town

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Saying 'Good-bye' to Ponce City Market - Loki and I are Moving On

My last blog about life inside PCM was in April - where has the time gone?

On October 2, it will have been one year since Loki and I became one of the first residents to live in the Flats at Ponce City Market.  As I have learned recently, that is a little like saying we were at Woodstock.  Only 100,000 or so people were actually at the concert on that little New York farm, but everyone over 60 years old swears they were there, and if the math is right that means 8 million people attended the coolest three days of music in history.  

2014, Loki happy to be in his new home

Welcome Gifts 

Well, there were only 4 of us who moved into PMC that first week of October but already I've talked to 10 complete strangers who have tried to convince me they were the first to sleep under its roof.  
October 2014

They didn't know who I was so I acted very impressed and let it go.  PCM is going to grow a cult following and will spin a history of its own, far greater than the reality, perhaps not as big as Woodstock, but the stories and wild tales have already begun.

Loki and I are moving out on the exact anniversary of the day we moved in.  We have enjoyed our year in the once 'old Sears Building' and now  'iconic Ponce City Market' and we have some GREAT (and mostly true) stories we will take with us and share with friends and family for a very long time to come.  

We have welcomed hundreds of curious friends and acquaintances into our little 655 square foot apartment.  We threw parties (yes, security came to the door during one of them).  We took official and unofficial tours (smile) at all times of the day and night.  

We gave friends what we now refer to as 'drunk tours' of the building (before the locks were added to the doors) consisting of a lovely evening stroll with a glass of wine in one hand and flashlight in the other.  We got stuck on an elevator with friends once. We got slightly lost once (probably because of the wine).  

We took hundreds of photos. We eagerly watched as life came slowly creeping back into that massive structure.  It was a time of incredible freedom - Loki went leash-less for much of the time we were here. Scandalous. 

In the earliest days, we got to know each new neighbor one at a time, as we rode the elevators. Then suddenly there were so many new faces (people and dog) as the flood gates opened.  Today most of the apartments are rented - there are only 2 vacancies on my floor.
That's the way it should be.   

A quick note; the Flats security people are all wonderful and Loki befriended them all.

We saw cool stuff like a Nick Cave performance. 

We read scores of  enthusiastic articles, posted hundreds of Facebook pictures and updates and Tweeted about the building's progress and new vendors (when they finally arrived).  I was interviewed several times about life in the old building, including once by CNN International. That was pretty cool.

But we also suffered through endless fire alarm tests, repeated gas shut off and on and off and on, and we locked ourselves out of the building several times after the electronic locking systems were activated. UPS and Fed Ex couldn't find us, at first. The leasing office had 100s of new processes and snags that had to be worked out on the fly because they had no previous experience with such a building.  We followed most of the rules...but not all.

We paid top dollar to live in a construction zone. Who knew that sound traveled through concrete with such efficiency??  There were days when it was deafening.   Very few of the fantastic amenities proffered in October 2014 were actually delivered while we were here. A mountainous parking deck has been under construction along the Beltline (just outside our window) for many loud months.  The Rooftop putt-putt golf won't be ready for several more months. Still no word on when the train car bar might open (I think this is my greatest loss).

The disappointment of repeated reports that the food court was delayed had become wearying.  As of this writing there are 5 food vendors in the Court now.   I've eaten at all of them.  Bummed that Super Pan won't be open before I move :-(  but I'll be back, Hector!

All that said, and while we didn't get much of the experience we were promised when we moved in, we can say we did get our own very special and unique experience. I suppose that is what I wanted when I moved in and what I take with me as I make my exit and short hop to Midtown. 

Oct 2014

Oct 2015
We 'Firsters' did have the pioneering spirit.  We are the ones who had experiences no one who comes after us will ever have. We were here at the rebirth. 

pre- William Sonoma

We walked this cavernous PCM in awe and wonder while the paint was still peeling and inhaled the dust of her revitalization.  We were here when the halls were filled with more anticipation than people.  We were more intrigued by the possibility of what was to come than by the actuality of what was, and mostly we were okay with that.

So just as Ponce City Market prepares to show the public her finished look, Loki and I prepare to move on.  We are going to miss the free on-site public parking transitioning to paid parking (but we residents always paid for our parking!).

We are going to miss the Masquerade music festivals that screamed techno and hip-hop into our windows until 11 at night.  Truth be told, I kinda liked it. 

Its not really 'good bye' because I am confident we'll return to shop at the stores and eat at the food court that we have been waiting (not so patiently) for a year. And when we do visit, we'll tell tall tales of the early days and fondly 'remember when' to the hip shoppers who will be haunting her oh-so-cool courtyard, rockin' rooftop and trendy stores.

Think I'm gonna miss the view most of all. Each day Loki and I took at least 2 strolls through the Historic 4th Ward Park and at night our park and downtown views were  breathtaking from the 6th floor.

I am grateful to my friends and family who came to visit us this year and helped Loki and me to make this concrete box a warm and welcoming home.  

All in all, its been an adventure we do not regret and an exciting year in apartment E621, but now its time to move on. 

Funny thing is, I'm actually making almost a full circle. This daughter of Atlanta, spent the first 4 years of my life on Peachtree St. at 10th in another iconic Atlanta building once called 'the Dump'.  Loki and I are moving back to Peachtree St. - into the historic Cornestone Building at 5th.  We love Atlanta history!

Thank you for joining us on this journey.

See ya' on Peachtree!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Time For An Update From Inside PCM

Loki and I have now been living inside the iconic Sears Building (aka Ponce City Market) for over six months.  It seems like the right time to provide an update on our living quarters and Jamestown's progress toward opening the Market and other fun sites inside of the building.

Well, actually there is nothing to report, yet.



Nothing.   Perhaps you have noticed?

No food.

No stores.

No fun on the roof.

No access to the Beltline.

No gym.

Nothing but the continuing sound of construction on the parking deck next door (that starts at 7AM, six days a week), fire alarm tests, drilling, banging and weird sounds I try not even to notice anymore.

Well, in fairness, Binders Art Supply store opened up recently and that is a really cool store.  Been there.  No wine. So sad.

I suppose some progress has been happening; Jamestown (with some swanky digs!), Cardlytics, HowStuffWorks, several architectural firms and an adult continuing education provider have moved their offices into the building.  Now there are lots of 20-somethings on bicycles coming to work each weekday morning and that's kinda cool to see.

All the business office spaces are not filled yet - we are still expecting Twitter, soon - and ALREADY there is a parking problem.  See, we co-op our parking spaces inside the deck (a policy I completely support).  Residents get parking in the evenings and commercial tenants use our spaces during the day.

The problem is, should I come home mid day I often find it hard to locate a parking space inside the building parking deck.

I am, to say the least, disappointed at the delay in opening of the food court portion of the project.  Predictions by the residential rental team, given to me in April of 2014, had a the swinging night life and rockin' food court at PCM already fully launched by now.  It has not.  Not even close.

Out of frustration and repeated mis-steps and delays that they can not control, the current residential rental team won't even try to give a time line for when things might really begin to start hopping inside the building or on the roof.  But a birdie told me it might be late Summer or early Fall.

Each day there does seem to be indications of incremental steps forward. As Loki and I take our daily stroll we see the front parking lot is almost finished. The building trim is getting painted. Exterior lights are being tested.  Windows are being cleaned and several windows even include notification that a store will one day occupy that space, but 'Fall 2015' is a very ambiguous opening date.

The residential units are filing up. I met someone who just moved in last month and I recognized that look of excitement and anticipation on his face as one I once wore - for the first few months after I moved in.  I get that look from time to time, like when we I get to stand on the roof and think about someday... someday.... but not today.

I do still love my compact Flat. I still love living in Old Fourth Ward. Loki and I still love living across from Historic Fourth Ward Park.  I still love being so close to the Beltline.

I do still love to read the excited articles filled with great anticipation about PCM from publications all over the world and enjoy all the hype on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., eagerly reporting who will SOON be coming to the Food court.

In fact, I was featured on CNN International recently and that was super cool (warning; shameless personal plug here - see me at 2 mins 58 seconds)

I do still get a little giddy when I see the work being done on the roof that will one day be a hip and trendy bar with THE best views in Atlanta.

It's true, there are so many things I love about where I am living.  To some extent that does make it easier to accept the time it is taking to finish this work, I suppose.

Mostly, I'm probably feeling more like the kid standing outside the candy store about 10 minutes before it opens.  And you know how 10 mins can seem like 6 months when you are waiting for something so wonderful to happen (no wait, it has been 6 months).

So Loki and I are signing off until there is something more to write about.  We're going for a walk to enjoy the Spring weather and check out the banners they just hung on the side of the building.  Nick Cave will be performing in the building this month.  That's kinda cool - right?

Stop by and say 'hi' if your in the neighborhood. You know where to find us.

Friday, January 9, 2015

CNN Comes to Ponce City Market

Recently, I was featured in a short segment on CNN International about Ponce City Market.  While Jamestown (the developers) are still a few months away from the full execution of the retail development portion of the site, we tenants know what is coming and are impatiently awaiting the grand opening of the retail space on the main level. 

Here you can take a peak inside one of the model residential units where I am asked about the prices of the residential units.  I was interviewed in a model unit  - mine is much better furnished!  LOL

Monday, January 5, 2015

90 Days Inside Ponce City Market Flats

Dec 3 - the 90 day anniversary of our move into Flats at Ponce City Market and Loki and I are settling in to a comfortable routine.

We rise each day to a very sunny and quiet apartment but the sounds of construction begin pretty quickly (by 7:30, many days).  The evidence of life coming back into this old building again is everywhere. There are over 100 of us living in the building now.   We encounter neighbors more frequently now and I think EVERYONE has a dog! Loki is in heaven.  I now have neighbors on both sides of me and directly above me but, except for the occasional distressed sounds of a dog with separation anxiety, I really don't hear them. 

We take a walk each morning through 4th Ward Park and find that crossing North Ave at 7:30 am is easier than you might think - we rarely have to wait for the light to change, because the road is almost empty.  

I often wonder to myself how long that will last now that over 1,000 apartments have come on line within a few blocks of this very spot over the last 3 months.  AMLI, BOHO, 755 and PCM have saturated this area with rental units for eager future Beltline users and North Ave drivers. I'm told over 200 more apartments are planned for the space now occupied by Masquerade Music Park.   So, while its oddly quiet for now, we know its coming. Today it's just the quiet before the storm. I keep an umbrella by the front door.