As the final installment in our Best of Atlanta 2021 coverage (phew), it’s time to recap the results of polls that asked voters to determine the greatest new aspects of this rapidly changing region throughout the year that was.
In addition to the Best Atlanta Neighborhood tourney (H/T to Mozley Park), four polls and one runoff saw more than 5,000 votes cast.
From shimmering glass towers to reborn warehouses and a hyped new greenspace, these are metro Atlanta’s best new projects of 2021, as determined by readers.
THE WORKS (51 percent of votes)
^ Not all intriguing new large-scale projects must pierce the skies or remake intown blocks. Proof of that came throughout 2021 with The Works, Selig's entrant to Atlanta’s pantheon of warehouse flips that have infused life into worn-out industrial spaces. The first phase is home to 120,000 square feet of new offices and 160,000 square feet of retail, including the eclectic Chattahoochee Food Works, a 31-stall food hall. The project's first apartments are under construction in new buildings near the entrance, and a business billed as “The Eatertainment Concept of the Future” should open soon.
Second place: The Interlock (16 percent)
WESTSIDE PARK, PHASE ONE (41 percent of votes)
^ Following months of delays that were vaguely tied to the pandemic but never really explained, city leaders unveiled Westside Park’s $44-million first phase in grand fashion one hot day in August. It's a collection of versatile fields, playgrounds, public art, meandering trails, and city-maintained scenery the Westside has long deserved. (Bonus points for the 2.4-billion gallon reservoir that could spare Atlanta’s existence if faced with catastrophic drought.) It’s only the first phase across these 280 acres, qualifying as Atlanta’s biggest park space. And sooner or later, it’ll be a very big pearl on the BeltLine’s necklace around the city.
Second place: Vine City’s Rodney Cook Sr. Park (28 percent)
THE BAILEY (44 percent of votes)
^ Not all darlings of the polls actually exist yet.
The brainchild of Atlanta-based Alux Properties, the $160-million Bailey project is expected to feature traditional mixed-use components—a 100-key boutique hotel with conference space—alongside facets such as med-spa facilities and a medical office complex that emphasize health and wellness. Other sections would see more Class A offices, “coveted retail brands,” and “high-end dining options,” as project leaders have said. The Bailey’s plans at 2650 Northwinds Parkway have been approved by the Alpharetta City Council. And if voter enthusiasm is any indication, this should be a fun one to watch.
Second place: Centennial Yards (17 percent)
594 IRWIN (45 percent of votes)
^ This category had too many deserving entrants for just one poll.
After readers had asked for a runoff featuring the top five finishers of an earlier poll, this four-unit O4W infill project by True Worth Property and Xmetrical architecture took the cake. Activating a high-profile locale near Krog Street Market, 594 Irwin maximized density with aesthetics that nod to the past and embrace the future. Uses include three townhomes and a 2,250-square-foot commercial space, topped by a versatile deck on the roof.
Second place: Cottages on Vaughan* (39 percent)
* The celebrated tiny-home experiment in Clarkston won the initial poll that featured, like 2021’s mayoral election, an overly crowded field.