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Renovations coming for vacant Midtown commercial building on Ponce

The Alpharetta-based Shane Investment Property Group is planning to redevelop a roughly 5,500-square-foot commercial space located near the intersection of Ponce de Leon Avenue and Monroe Drive.

While work continues on the Ponce City Market, the intersection of Ponce de Leon Avenue and Monroe Drive just a block west of the $180 million renovation of the former Sears & Roebuck building continues to receive makeover plans, too.

In October, Midtown Patch first reported that the Exxon service station at 486 Ponce de Leon was in the process of being replaced by a full-service Shell Food Mart. And less than two weeks ago, Patch broke the news that Fidelty Bank would be moving into the vacated bank space at 494 Ponce de Leon that fronts both Ponce and Monroe.

Now Patch has learned that the Alpharetta-based Shane Investment Property Group is planning to redevelop a roughly 5,500-square-foot commercial space located at 468 Ponce de Leon.

The building, originally built in 1930, sits between Grace United Methodist Church and where the new Shell Food Mart is currently under construction. The decrepit and vacant building formerly housed several tenants including a shoe store and guitar amplifier shop.

“We bought it because we love the location with the growth of Ponce City Market,’’ Emery Shane, president of Shane Investment Property Group, told Patch. “We’re going to turn it into a kind of Virginia Highland type look with beautiful new awnings, new lighting, new signing, new storefronts. Really, we’re going to restore it better than it was when it was new."

The company purchased the building last Fall from its Florida-based owner. The plan is to renovate it for four-to-six tenants, although accommodations could be made if just one tenant desired to move in.

“We’re not looking for a check-cashing place,” Shane said. “We’re looking for more boutique stores and restaurants because we have parking in back. We might even build a deck out in the back for a restaurant.”

Initial renovation plans have been filed with the City with the hopes to begin construction in the coming months. An artist's rendering of the project from Place Maker Design is included with this article.

“We’re investing in this project with anticipation that it will be one of the catalysts to encourage more investment in the area,” Shane said.

Chris H January 30, 2013 at 03:53 PM
I'm glad that they are restoring the old storefronts instead of tearing them down. It's exciting to see positive changes happening on Ponce. However...this is probably the worst section of Ponce being at the corner of Boulevard with a lot of sketchy people around. If they are going for the "Virgina Highlands" feel than they are going to need a lot of foot traffic. And the kind that is there now will not do anything good for any new businesses. I just hope what goes in there is not pawn and hair weave shops.
Zewditu Demissie January 30, 2013 at 04:04 PM
So excited about this. But we still need to clean up the area in other regards. I hate this intersection at night.
Jason King January 30, 2013 at 08:32 PM
A deck on the back for a restaurant would be a good passive security system since it would put eyes on the parking lot back there that is otherwise hidden.
Urbanist January 30, 2013 at 09:48 PM
Does anyone know if any of these building have air rights for residential development on top of them?
Chris Mueller January 31, 2013 at 12:30 PM
I agree, this is a terrible spot for retail for a VA Highlands type shop. There is no foot traffic, the sidewalks are too narrow, and Ponce to way too busy to for anyone to want to stop and shop. I agree the building could be quaint if it is fixed up, but I fear the area has out grown that type of commercial space.
Sara Van Beck January 31, 2013 at 01:57 PM
I'm delighted that they are at least willing to give a small-shop business model a try. If it doesn't succeed, then we'll end up saddled with chain stores just like the 'burbs. But an "A" for effort and brazen thinking, and i'll be happy to support with my two feet. The area isn't nearly as wretched as it was 10-20 years ago... I about fell over last year when i saw a young white woman jogging down Boulevard down that mean street. If you want change, make it so. Encourage the businesses you want to move in. (The sidewalks seem quite wide to me, will drive by and squint. Maybe Grace UMC would be willing to invest in a bit more inviting landscaping in the front, as they're doing great things in the back). Hunt - do you happen to know the time table for the Dunkin' Donuts, if that's still in progress?
Sharon Foster Jones January 31, 2013 at 04:05 PM
I think this IS how you work on sketchy foot traffic! (There is no "s" on Virginia-Highland, by the way.)
rth30308 January 31, 2013 at 04:29 PM
I live very close on Monroe. I am really keeping my fingers crossed that the changes will make a positive difference with this intersection. I hope the developers plan to have 24 hour security guard (bad ass) factored into their business plan. It is a prerequisite in my opinion to keep the sketchy people from infesting the new development. The potential is there; however, as long as the section 8 housing is just across the street it is going to be a challenge.
Jeff K January 31, 2013 at 05:18 PM
I agree. I'm a small business owner and looking for a bigger space to move into (currently in L5P). We are looking in VA-Hi and in Buckhead. This spot COULD be intriguing with the right businesses (maybe even mine), but it will take a hell of a decent lease (i.e., a LOT of free rent & low lease rate). It will take years to over come the stigma that this area has. This is a step in the right direction, but Shane Investments needs to be willing to look at this as a "long term" project, not something turnkey.
Hunt Archbold (Editor) January 31, 2013 at 05:23 PM
Sara, I sent you an email, but I understand it's still on. I will look back into it and get back with you. Thanks.
Barbara Baggerman January 31, 2013 at 06:41 PM
The former "guitar amplifier shop" was the old Melton's, an icon of state-of-the-art sound equipment back in the day; the place to go for good speakers for your stereo system. Perhaps the developers and/or new store tenants can retain some artifact or remembrance of Melton's. I agree, it's great they're saving the old storefronts to retain the intown ambiance. Intown does not want to look like the 'burbs. Our little villages with 1920s-30s storefronts are an essential component of what makes intown living so desirable. With so much Midtown residential district immediately behind them, it would seem a good location for a restaurant, esp. with a patio out back. Also seems a good step toward cleaning up the area. With Ponce City Market, the resurrection of O4W, and proximity to the Beltline, things will only get better.
Barbara Baggerman January 31, 2013 at 06:50 PM
And yes, the article got it right, but several commenters got it wrong: It's Virginia-Highland (the intersection of two streets, like Haight-Ashbury or Bedford-Stuyvesant). There is no 's' on the end. Virginia-Highland, or Va-Hi, or V-H, yes; but not Virginia Highlands, and not (gag me) "the Highlands."
Chris H January 31, 2013 at 08:46 PM
Wow, the Grammar Nazis our out today. We all know why it is called "Virginia-Highland" being the intersection. But everyone refers to the area as "The Highlands". Sorry if that makes you want to vomit.
Chris H January 31, 2013 at 08:46 PM
Wow, the Grammar Nazis are out today. We all know why it is called "Virginia-Highland" being the intersection. But everyone refers to the area as "The Highlands". Sorry if that makes you want to vomit.
FamilyOfFour January 31, 2013 at 11:03 PM
I can't stand when they have a full development for section 8 housing. You have to break it up and have section 8 units not whole buildings. That would help boulevard I think.
Mark A February 01, 2013 at 06:53 PM
virginia-highland + poncey-highland = the highlands. choke on it
Barbara Baggerman February 01, 2013 at 07:10 PM
Everyone? Hardly. The people I hear refer to it as "the Highlands" are usually either relative newbies or tourists from the suburbs trying too hard to be hip. Those who've been around the 'hood awhile usually know better. But your mileage may vary.
Barbara Baggerman February 01, 2013 at 07:19 PM
Valid point, Mark A. No need to be rude. Nevertheless, when referring to only one of them, as in some of the above comments, there's no 's' on the end.
el namo February 01, 2013 at 07:42 PM
I wold love to live in Virginia Highlands!
Michael February 01, 2013 at 08:32 PM
VIrginia-Highlands, also known as "The Highlands" for short, is not even comprable to this area.
JM Hurricane February 01, 2013 at 09:09 PM
What's a Virginia-Highland aren't they cigarettes?
Jonas Perth February 02, 2013 at 05:30 AM
I've lived in The Highlands for 14 years and was never aware of this spelling error. Now I finally have a reason to look down on others.
Dookie Doo February 02, 2013 at 12:26 PM
Things won't get better just because somebody takes an old building and makes it look new. You're going to have to bulldoze the apartments along Boulevard as well. If you don't, all this "new" development will do is bring more white people to the area to be robbed by the black folk from Boulevard. The hoods will have a field day.
Dookie Doo February 02, 2013 at 12:28 PM
@Barbara. You were being a little snooty pointing out the lack of the 's'. Don't complain when somebody pushes it back onto you.

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