WORK OPTIONS: Buckhead Atlanta businesses — including boutiques, restaurants, and maintenance or concierge services — are expected to employ 400-600 workers daily. The undergarment conglomerate Spanx leases 86,000 square feet of office space on the site, and the German real estate firm Engel & Volkers has leased offices for its 40 metro Atlanta brokers.
SHOP OPTIONS: The center's main attraction is a 160,000-square-foot assembly of high-priced stores that surpasses the offerings at nearby Phipps Plaza and Lenox Square Mall in terms of exclusivity. New signature boutiques include Canali, Etro, Hermes, Moncler, Christian Louboutin, Helmut Lange and Akris.
DINE OPTIONS: The initial phase of Buckhead Atlanta's development encompasses 70,000 square feet of diverse restaurants. Gypsy Kitchen serves a mix of Latin and Asian cuisine indoors or on the patio. Manhattan-based Shake Shack sells food truck-inspired burgers, hot dogs and custard treats inside or on the roof. Thirteen Pies offers gourmet pizza and made-to-order cocktails. And Le Bilboquet provides sophisticated French cuisine.
CHAINS OR LOCAL VENDORS?: Besides Atlanta-based Spanx, the only other locally owned retail store at Buckhead Atlanta is Bella Bag, which specializes in buying and reselling authenticated collectible handbags by prestige labels (Gucci, Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton) to online customers. The Gypsy Kitchen restaurant is owned by a team of seven Atlanta-based investors.
PRICE LEVEL (Based on $-$$$$ scale): Buckhead Atlanta is a $$$$ destination. At Le Bilboquet, a crab and avocado appetizer is $23 and a Cajun chicken entrée is $29. At Christian Louboutin, the signature nail polish costs $50 and the legendary stiletto-heeled shoes start at $845.
PARKING: Buckhead Atlanta provides 2,400 spaces for complimentary self-parking and each is lit overhead to indicate whether it's open (green), occupied (red) or reserved for the handicapped (blue). There is limited, metered street parking between the shops and restaurants. An extensive range of paid valet/concierge services includes text-for-pickup, detailing and auto emissions testing.
HISTORIC ARCHITECTURE?: No.
SHOPPER COMMENTS: "Buckhead Atlanta gives me the sense of being on Rodeo Drive and Fifth Avenue, all in one. To me it's an example of the progressive moves Atlanta's making." —Keela Starr, CEO of K. Starr Management
PROS: It raises Atlanta's credibility as a shopping mecca.
CONS: If you have to ask, you can't afford it.
KROG STREET MARKET
LOCATION: 99 Krog St. 770-434-2400. krogstreetmarket.com
DEVELOPER/DESIGNER/ARCHITECT: The Krog Street Market is solely owned, developed and managed by Atlanta-based Pace Properties. The aged 30,000-square-foot former warehouse space dates back to the 1920s, and its structural integrity and open-air utilitarian design has been preserved.
DWELLING OPTIONS: None yet. The Dallas-based Trammell Crow Residential firm has begun construction on The Alexan — a mid-rise apartment building with 222 900-square-foot units slated to open across the street in summer 2015.
WORK OPTIONS: Krog Street Market has many dining and retail enterprises open. As more open, they'll need servers, cooks, managers and cashiers. But it isn't the place for corporate work.
SHOP OPTIONS: A cute cottage called The Collective offers arts and crafts by local artists. French Market Flowers and Mama Bath and Body sell items to soothe the senses. The Krog Street Pet Works is up and running. And foodies can find tasty morsels or libations at the Hop City Store and Bar, the Little Tart Bakeshop and The Spotted Trotter for select meats.
DINE OPTIONS: Alumni from the Westside meccas Bacchanalia and Star Provisions operate the Fred's Meat & Bread burger joint. The Luminary is a new destination for French-American cuisine.
CHAINS OR LOCAL VENDORS?: The Krog Street Market features numerous popular restaurants rooted in metro Atlanta. For instance: Gu's Dumplings has drifted down from its Buford Highway nest and Craft Izakaya brings its sushi delights from Marietta.
PRICE LEVEL: The Krog Street Market earns a $$ rating, with vendors offering goods as rare treats at affordable prices. A plate of steak and fries at The Luminary costs $22. A plate of meat and two sides from G.C. BBQ costs $11-16. Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream averages $12 per pint.
PARKING: Complimentary parking is available both in the adjacent garage and the surface deck.
HISTORIC ARCHITECTURE?: Yes. The Krog Street Market maintains most of the architectural integrity of its original function as a long, wide, high-ceilinged warehouse for the Atlanta Stove Works, which produced cooking ranges that burned both wood and coal.
SHOPPER COMMENT: "Five years ago, you couldn't just ride your bike along the Beltline from Midtown to Cabbagetown and go somewhere new to have a drink. But now you can. Who would have thought the day would come? That place is a great addition to what's going on." —Bill Kaelin, Atlanta event promoter
PROS: It's off the beaten path, and you don't have to dress up.
CONS: It's off the beaten path.
PONCE CITY MARKET
LOCATION: 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-692-1670. www.poncecitymarket.com
DEVELOPER/DESIGNER/ARCHITECT: The Atlanta-based Jamestown real estate firm acquired the structure in 2011 for $27 million. Primary architectural credits go to Atlanta's Surber Barber Choate & Hertlein, which specializes in preserving such historic landmarks as the Margaret Mitchell House and Rhodes Hall.
DWELLING OPTIONS: The Flats — a brick tower centrally located inside Ponce City Market — has rental units available that range from studios that average $1,350 per month to 3-bedroom/2-bathroom lofts for about $3,000-3,500 monthly. Food, furnishings, schools, parks and other diversions are easily accessible by car, bicycle or foot.
WORK OPTIONS: The tech companies Cardlytics, the marketing company MailChimp, the architects of Surber Barber Choate & Hertlein, the investment firm Jamestown, the Web-based information site HowStuffWorks and the New York-based firm General Assembly all have leased office space at Ponce City Market. It's also home to the latest branch of the Suzuki School for kids aged 3 months to 5 years old.
SHOP OPTIONS: Ponce City Market has a new Binders arts supply and gifts store and is home to the Ponce Gallery. News about other potential openings remains pending, but there are numerous stores at the Home Depot complex across the street.
DINE OPTIONS: In the Central Food Hall, award-winning chefs offer eateries alongside plucky newcomers. Celebrated chef Anne Quatrano's upcoming Dub's Fish Camp takes a casual approach to sandwiches and steamed seafood dishes. The H&F Burger bistro will feature chef Linton Hopkins' discerning tastes in bread and meat.
CHAINS OR LOCAL VENDORS?: Local small businesses like Honeysuckle Gelato, Juice Box, Chai Pani and Jia-Authentic Szechuan dominate the list of first adopters hoping Ponce City Market will be their springboard to expansion.
PRICE LEVEL: Ponce City Market qualifies as semi-affordable ($$-$$$), given its location so close to Midtown's amenities. Chef Linton Hopkins' H&F Burger is expected to open in 2015; if it's any indication, his signature restaurant, Holman & Finch, has only three menu items over $10. The Simply Seoul Kitchen, meanwhile, is a fast-food offshoot of chef Hannah Chung's inexpensive, locally sourced kimchi company.
PARKING: The complex has a mix of 2,000 open-air (free) and garage (paid) parking spaces, with some reserved for residents and employees.
HISTORIC ARCHITECTURE?: Yes. The 90-plus-year old structure's exterior and foundation were preserved almost completely. Restoring and re-using existing materials, including its original energy-efficient, steel framed windows, saved the energy equivalent of 10 million gallons of gasoline, according to the developer.
SHOPPER COMMENTS: "What impresses me is the level of detail and thought throughout the project. Unique doesn't have to mean more expensive. By adding the white noise of a water feature and incorporating the visual obstruction of saw grass to the Dancing Goats Coffee patio, (they) succeeded in creating a place for visitors to relax without feeling like they're on North Avenue." —Gene Kansas, urban redeveloper
PROS: Not many steps from apartment to office to food court.
CONS: So far, not enough incentives for nonresidents or workers to visit more than once.