During a hot, rooftop ceremony in summer 2011, then-Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed stood atop what was then City Hall East and, in a symbolic gesture of promising days ahead, handed over the building’s keys to developer Jamestown Properties, which had paid $27 million for the mammoth Old Fourth Ward landmark.
That’s when Atlantans first heard the project name, Ponce City Market. And it marked a turning point for the 2-million-square-foot, adaptive-reuse colossus, which alongside the BeltLine’s Eastside Trail became a catalyst for investment and physical change like few neighborhoods in Atlanta have seen since.
Virtually no street corner, commercial corridor, or residential lane in Old Fourth Ward has been untouched by development in the past decade. Well over 3,000 apartments and townhomes have been built, as the neighborhood’s population has more than quadrupled since its 1990s nadir. And the largest private, BeltLine-adjacent investment to date—a potential $1-billion mini city—is just getting started, called simply Fourth Ward project.
Which makes it an opportune time to look back across the eventful decade in O4W that was, thanks to the wizardry and archives of Google Maps.
The difference in many O4W places is drastic and irrevocable, lending an undeniable vibrancy but also trends that point toward exclusivity. In the past decade, for instance, average O4W home and condo values have more than doubled to $335,000, and million-dollar listings have become commonplace, with 15 priced above that once-unthinkable threshold now.
In the slider gallery below, we’ve selected key vantage points across the neighborhood—both iconic and ordinary—that illustrate shifting trends in residential architecture and land use, for better or worse. Most “before” imagery dates to 2011 or 2012, though grainier images were pulled from a few years earlier, mostly 2007. The “after” pics were logged early in March 2020, for the most part.
Even for Atlantans who’ve watched O4W’s transformation happen, it could be a startling reminder of how much things have changed.