Proprietors at the lovably funky Irwin Street Market are the latest businesspeople with hopes of harnessing the Beltline's potential to boost business. The founder of Jake's Ice Cream told Atlanta magazine the market is undergoing major renovations; changes will include an atrium-like patio with European flair that faces the Beltline's Eastside Trail. Expect the patio to open next month, replete with umbrellas and seating for 60. "Our whole business changed the day the Beltline opened," Jake Rothschild told the magazine. "It's now the center of our operation." Practically next door, a 2,500 square-foot warehouse is occupied by Atlanta Beltline Bicycles — which uprooted from Avondale Estates last month and dropped its Avondale Cycles name. Could more businesses be far behind?
Businesses as disparate as Kevin Rathbun Steak and the Paris On Ponce antique emporium seem to be profiting from the Beltline's influx of pedestrian activity. Scuttlebutt was that the long metal shed structure that separates Ponce City Market from the Eastside Trail would be transformed into a vendor space, where bands could also roll up the doors and perform for passing Beltline patrons. As Creative Loafing noted when the Eastside Trail opened, the strip mall along Monroe Drive near Piedmont Park — the one that includes Arden's Garden and Yoforia — quickly replaced some steel doors in the rear of the building with glass entrances as a more enticing "come hither" to Beltliners. Recently, the King of Pops crew opened a small window service just off the trail.
But could the Eastside Trail sustain even more business activity, especially as four major apartment developments are under way within sight of each other? Could the boardwalk feel of the corridor be punched up even more — or should it be?
We're curious: What sort of businesses would you like to see on your Eastside Trail jaunts, or is it fine as is?
· Changes at Irwin Street Market—including a new restaurant [Atlanta magazine]
· Lessons learned — and observations — from the Atlanta Beltline's Eastside Trail [Creative Loafing]