It all comes down to this, Atlanta (and DeKalb County).
After two weeks of criteria-free competitions, shocking upsets, a couple of blowouts, effusive love of place, and nearly 16,000 votes, two contestants have risen above the rest to sniff Mount Olympus. But only one can be proclaimed the greatest in Urbanize’s second-annual Best Atlanta Neighborhood tournament.
Will it be the higher-seeded Castleberry Hill? Or the historic eastside city that is Avondale Estates? (Note: Cities near Atlanta’s core are allowed to participate, per the official rules, so long as enough people nominated them.)
Without further ado ... Welcome to The Championship!
This being the final contest, voting will be open until 3 p.m. sharp on Monday, allowing anyone who’s actually on vacation sufficient time to chime in. We ask that you keep the tourney fun and positive as one great ITP place surges to everlasting glory—with the whole city (and beyond) watching.
Now, let’s go!
CASTLEBERRY HILL (8)
Round 1: Slipped past Westview (56 percent of votes)
Elite Eight: Dethroned top-seeded Midtown (59 percent)
Final Four: Edged Virginia-Highland (55 percent)
Confirming that size doesn’t matter, proud and pugnacious Castleberry Hill (population: less than 2,500) is on a warpath toward prestige this year.
Some 2022 highlights: The artsy loft district is set to welcome a sweet new connection to downtown soon with the Nelson Street Bridge project, a pedestrian-only, open-container space. Early 2022 saw the official debut of Castleberry’s first brewery—Atlantucky Brewing, owned and operated by members of Southern rap group Nappy Roots. Atlanta native Cam Newton opened a BBQ joint in the neighborhood this year—and then scooped up a legendary dive bar down the street. On the relatively cheap housing front, condos came together in 2022 at the Lyric Lofts project (from the low $300,000s), and HGTV star Ty Pennington also completed a boutique condo project in Castleberry called The Otis Building, priced from about a half-million bucks. So this neighborhood has celebrity buzz and infrastructural improvements going for it. Is that enough to be No. 1?
AVONDALE ESTATES (10)
Round 1: Spanked Kirkwood like it stole something (65 percent of votes)
Elite Eight: Ushered East Atlanta to the exit (53 percent)
Final Four: Triumphed over eastside sibling Decatur (57 percent)
If you’re asking what an independent DeKalb County city is doing here, you’ll have to take that up with the motivated Avondale Estates boosters who nominated it for the tournament earlier this month. The bracket is meant to be ITP inclusive, after all, and if you don’t think Avondale is urbanizing in smart ways, you haven't been paying attention.
In 2022, Avondale welcomed the centralized park the city’s famed Tudor-style downtown had been lacking, a functional 2-acre greenspace called Town Green. Just west of there, Avondale’s brewery district continued to gain traction, with its ’Dale Ale Trail linking all watering holes together and providing inspiration for a festival. And the Olive & Pine project continued to take shape as the city’s first medley of a food hall and other uses. No wonder Avondale Estates has racked up well over 3,000 votes alone so far. But can Avondale rally enough support to oust Castleberry? Only time—and votes—will tell.
Now, please cast a vote below!
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(POLLING FOR THE 2022 TOURNAMENT HAS CLOSED. Thanks to all who participated. Results are currently being vetted. Expect the 2022 trophy presentation soon!)