[UPDATE: 9:08 a.m., November 4: Find the first sketches, tentative site plans, and other details for what Ponce de Leon Avenue blocks packed with cherished businesses today could look like within roughly the next four years, as presented by Portman Holdings on Thursday evening.

Spread across an east and west parcel, early concepts suggest building 354 residential units and 38,000 square feet of retail spaces on the north side of Ponce, beginning at the Atlanta BeltLine. But the lion’s share by far would go toward office space, with nearly a half-million square feet total.

ASD/SKY has signed on as master and retail architect, Pickard Chilton as office design architect, dwg. as landscape architects, and Hord Coplan Macht as residential designers. Neighborhood discussions are expected to continue through 2022, with rezoning and more official design phases to follow. Portman leaders say construction could begin sometime around June 2024.]

Portman Holdings’ campaign to gather public feedback before moving forward with large-scale redevelopment that could spell the end of several beloved Ponce businesses is set to ramp up this month.

Beginning this evening, the veteran Atlanta development firm will take part in three scheduled public meetings to discuss plans that could drastically alter several blocks of Ponce de Leon Avenue, beginning at the BeltLine’s Eastside Trail near Ponce City Market.

Portman is calling the endeavor the "Ponce & Ponce Project," a nod to the famously gritty avenue and intersecting street Ponce de Leon Place. 

Discussions will begin this evening with a virtual meeting scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m., a Portman rep tells Urbanize Atlanta. The public is invited to register here.  

The scope of Ponce properties where Portman currently has letters of intent signed with landowners wishing to sell, per the developer. Courtesy of Portman Holdings

According to the Virginia-Highland Civic Association, another in-person “Public Happy Hour” walk-in meeting with Portman officials will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, November 7th at the Bookhouse Pub. That’s one of the longstanding local establishments that could be razed should Portman’s eastside redevelopment ambitions pan out.

A third meeting with Portman is tentatively scheduled for November 16, though details have yet to be finalized.

Portman has engaged in talks—and signed letters of intent—with landowners along the north side of Ponce, stretching across properties from the BeltLine to the VESTA Movement gym at 744 Ponce de Leon Avenue NE, stopping before the building that’s home to gusto! restaurant.

Portman's Ponce redevelopment would begin here, in the 700 block of Ponce, and continue on this side of the street to the BeltLine. Josh Green/Urbanize Atlanta

Rumors that a developer was sniffing around the area with intentions to evict cherished businesses—MJQ Concourse, Friends on Ponce, The Local, and Bookhouse Pub among them—sent shockwaves through Atlanta in June.

In a September interview with Urbanize Atlanta, Portman Holdings’ chairman and CEO Ambrish Baisiwala said his company has established agreements with a contiguous row of landholders who wished to cash out and move on. But nothing, Baisiwala said, is set in stone, and the deals might not materialize if feasible plans can’t be formulated that please the neighborhood.

Baisiwala said continued conversations with the community would be a first step in moving forward, and this month’s meetings (following an initial in-person meeting a few weeks ago) appear to be those plans being put into action.

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