Ponce City Market expected to open this spring - CBS46 News

Ponce City Market expected to open this spring

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

The Ponce City Market, one of the Atlanta BeltLine's main highlights, is set to open this spring.

Once completed, the 2-million-square-foot building will include a central food hall, shopping, offices, a school and apartments.

Some businesses, like the Suzuki School, a pre-school offering a Montessori education, are already open.

"This side of town has been anticipating this project for a really long time," said Courtney May, director of the Ponce Suzuki School.

"I feel it every day; I love it. There's a positive energy here," added Irene Dodge, manager of Binders Art Supplies and Frames, which is also open.

The site carries with it a great deal of history. It's been an amusement park, ballpark and, for more than a half-a-century, a retail store and regional distribution center for Sears.

"I've talked to many people who shopped here, had their first job here, bought their Christmas toys here," said Kit Sutherland, a local historian who lives across the street from the project.

The city of Atlanta bought the building in 1991, renaming it City Hall East. With only 10 percent of the building occupied, the structure deteriorated.

When city leaders decided to sell in 2010, the developers behind Chelsea Market in New York, Jamestown, jumped on-board.

Thousands of materials are being reused or redeveloped for the project. In fact, Sutherland said while there is plenty of new, the builders are incorporating the neighborhood's history, such as using refurbished hardwood from the Sears building as new flooring for the market.

"I've had my eye on this building for about 30 years, fingers crossed, that it would be recognized and renovated into something beautiful, and I'm not disappointed," Sutherland said.

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