Ponce City Market Exterior

photo by: Blake Burton

January 7, 2016

Photo Essay: Atlanta's Ponce City Market

  • By: David Weible
  • Photography: Blake Burton

Back in 2013, we covered a massive and exciting project down in the Big Peach: the redevelopment of the old Sears, Roebuck & Company distribution center into Ponce City Market (PCM). The result—more than 1.1 million square feet retail, office, and residential space in Atlanta’s Fourth Ward—is the city’s biggest adaptive reuse project ever.

The first wave of openings began in 2015, and as the city began to fully embrace its newest cultural hub in December, local architect and photographer Blake Burton reached out to us with a collection of photos of the space's transformation.

Fresh out of architecture school at the height of the recession in 2009, Burton took a job in Atlanta’s asset management office supervising the cleanup of what would become PCM. Convinced the building would be demolished, Burton preserved what he could of the building through photographs.

When word came that Jamestown Properties had purchased the building and was planning a complete adaptive reuse, Burton asked permission to continue his documentation. With five years of unlimited access, he built a comprehensive photo record of the building and its transition, which he hopes to publish in book form.

We’ve provided a sampling of his work in the slideshow below.

David Weible was the content specialist at the National Trust, previously with Preservation and Outside magazines. His interest in historic preservation was inspired by the ‘20s-era architecture, streetcar neighborhoods, and bars of his hometown of Cleveland.

Join the movement to save and sustain historic African American places. The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund will help every American see themselves, their history, and their potential in our collective story and national cultural landscape.

Learn More