Nine months after rumors began swirling that a prominent developer was aiming to remake a lovably funky section of Ponce de Leon Avenue, Portman Holdings is taking plans to the city to start doing just that.

Portman officials are scheduled to present their mid-rise, mixed-use vision for several blocks of Ponce at the City of Atlanta Zoning Review Board’s next meeting April 13.

According to the board’s agenda, the developer is asking that seven individual properties totaling about 3.9 acres be rezoned to a classification (PD-MU/BL) that allows for mixed-use development in the BeltLine Overlay District.     

Portman reps tell Urbanize Atlanta this week the Virginia-Highland Civic Association voted and approved Portman’s development plans—working title, “Ponce & Ponce”—at its last board meeting.  

“Portman has worked closely with the Virginia-Highland community and will continue to do so throughout this process,” officials said in a statement to Urbanize. The company is “honored to continue working with the community and is energized by the idea of developing a community amenity at this site.”

How the project would relate to Ponce City Market, pictured at left, per initial plans. via Portman Holdings

In terms of building scale, streetscapes, BeltLine connectivity, and exterior finishes, Portman’s ambitions would render the southwestern-most blocks of Ponce unrecognizable in Virginia-Highland. Proponents of those changes have applauded the density and addition of housing, while detractors since last summer have called the deal another example of Atlanta’s authentic soul being purged for high-dollar investment.

As detailed in a series of public meetings last year, Portman’s project would replace low-rise buildings and parking lots that comprise one of Atlanta’s more cherished nightlife strips, where businesses MJQ Concourse, Friends on Ponce, The Local, and Bookhouse Pub, among others, have long operated.

Plans for a plaza-style connection with the BeltLine's Eastside Trail. via Portman Holdings

Businesses that choose to stay open in the impacted blocks will be able to continue operating for roughly two more years, Portman officials have previously said. (MJQ, for one, plans to decamp to Underground Atlanta sometime this year.)

So far, the project appears to be sticking close to Portman’s timeline for early this year, which has called for it coming before city zoning boards in March and being up for an Atlanta City Council vote within a few weeks of that.

According to early timelines, construction could begin in summer 2024 and finish by the end of 2026. Find more context and renderings in the gallery above. 


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• Q&A: Portman Holdings CEO discusses uncertain future of Ponce (Urbanize Atlanta)