As part of ongoing Best of Atlanta 2022 coverage, Urbanize’s second-annual Best Atlanta Neighborhood tournament kicked off last week with 16 places vying for the prestige of being called the city’s greatest.
Now, for each Final Four contest, voting will be open for 24 hours. Please, let’s keep the tourney fun and positive, as one neighborhood (or city) rises above the rest in very public fashion. The quest to crown a champion resumes now!
Congrats to Virginia-Highland for the 2022 tournament’s biggest butt-whupping by a long shot: a 48-percentage-point trouncing of Westside darling Howell Station earlier this week. That followed another convincing victory over Peoplestown in the first round.
In 2022, Virginia-Highland was a magnet for big-time development and urban-planning headlines, and buzz for the area is strong, as usual. Portman Holdings was revealed as the mystery land-assembler hoping to remake Ponce de Leon Avenue this summer, when rumors of a planned mini-city turned out to be true. Other Va-Hi happenings of note included the Roycraft condo building topping out along the BeltLine, and possible signs of life for a boutique development that would wipe out a vibrancy-killing parking lot—at long last. The longstanding Diesel Filling Station bowed out on Va-Hi’s beloved commercial strip, but it’ll be promptly replaced by a fun-loving concept called Dad’s.
Whether that all qualifies Virginia-Highland as Atlanta’s best neighborhood this year is up for debate, but like the neighborhood’s median home sales price ($900,000) in November, it certainly means it’s desirable. And judging by earlier performances, Va-Hi seems hungrier than ever for hardware.
CASTLEBERRY HILL (8)
Home to more cool, airy old condos than any other Atlanta place, Castleberry Hill’s pride bubbles to the surface in year-end, criteria-free tournaments, though it’s never quite managed to capture the crown. Will 2022 be different? If Castleberry’s Elite Eight performance—toppling mighty Midtown, the No.1 seed—is any indication, the answer could be yes. Castleberry won that match handily, by the way, with 59 percent of the vote, after having shown Westview to the door in round one.
As the year concludes, the artsy loft district is set to welcome a connection to downtown with the new Nelson Street Bridge, 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 quartet 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, as the ginormous Centennial Yards project finally rumbles to life next door, scrappy Castleberry is holding its own. Just ask Midtown.
(POLLING HAS CLOSED AFTER 24 HOURS. Thanks to all who participated, and congrats to CASTLEBERRY HILL, which advances to the 2022 CHAMPIONSHIP round! The final contest starts momentarily ... )