Behold! Ponce City Market opens its doors to the Atlanta BeltLine

Ahead of this weekend’s Lantern Parade, the nearly finished Old Fourth Ward project is now accessible to the Eastside Trail.
Ponce City Market entrance
Earlier this morning, construction workers prepared for the opening of Ponce City Market's BeltLine entrance.

Max Blau

The Atlanta BeltLine’s biggest moment of the year just got a little bit bigger. On Saturday night, more than 20,000 Atlantans are expected to descend upon the Eastside Trail for the sixth-annual Lantern Parade, during which participants will light up the night sky with tiny homemade China Ball lanterns and 12-foot-tall illuminated puppets, as they walk 2.2 miles from Irwin Street to Piedmont Park. To mark the occasion, Ponce City Market this afternoon is opening the bridge that connects the mixed-use development to the BeltLine—connecting the 10-story structure with the 22-mile loop for the first time.

Three years into its retrofit of the 2.1-million-square-foot building, Jamestown Properties is opening in stages. (It won’t be fully done by year’s end) Now, one of PCM’s biggest selling points—connectivity to the BeltLine—will be available to employees headed to work at Mailchimp, diners grabbing a bite to eat at H&F Burger, or residents hanging out at their $1,500-a-month studio apartments.

Entrance to PCM from the BeltLine is just across from the Ford Factory Lofts and south of the Ponce de Leon Avenue Bridge. Chuck Meadows, executive director of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, the smart-growth project’s nonprofit arm, says the walkway “embraces the history and the connectivity” of the BeltLine. In coming months, the market will further integrate with the BeltLine when it opens a bike valet, as well as a covered deck near the entrance that will include patio seating beneath bright orange steel beams and string lights.

In addition, PCM will also donate a portion of the proceeds from its upcoming Party at Ponce on October 10, the first “official’” event at the development—featuring performances from the Indigo Girls, Shawn Mullins, and David Ryan Harris—to the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership. For guests visiting on other days, PCM plans to donate $1 from each parking fee paid through its electronic pay system to the BeltLine. Free parking ends on October 1.