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Curbed Cup 1st Round: (3) Chamblee vs. (14) Virginia-Highland

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Which neighborhood should advance? Cast your vote now!

A photo of Chamblee’s The Olmsted which debuted this past summer, furthering a trend toward urbanism.
Chamblee’s The Olmsted debuted this past summer, furthering a trend toward urbanism.
Curbed Atlanta

The Curbed Cup, our annual award for Atlanta’s “Neighborhood of the Year,” is kicking off with 16 neighborhoods vying for the prestigious (fake) trophy. We’ll reveal each of the neighborhoods this week, and polls will be open for 24 hours, so you can cast your vote as to which ones should advance. (Seeding from 1 to 16 was determined by reader nominations this month). Now, let the eliminations commence!

Chamblee (3)

When it comes to getting out the vote prior to Curbed Cup tournaments, the burgeoning north ITP hub of Chamblee is frequently an all-star.

Case in point: Chamblee scored enough reader nominations last year to land a No. 1 seed and then proceeded to march all the way to the Final Four—before encountering the 2016 buzzsaw that was College Park.

That did little to squash momentum in 2017 for this north DeKalb County community of about 16,000, which continued to embrace its MARTA-connectedness with the debut of the relatively dense (and stylish) The Olmsted project, as 79 units of affordable housing the region needs took shape nearby.

Other major projects (Peachtree Crossing, Parkview on Peachtree, and MARTA’s latest TOD venture, “Trackside”) are injecting the city with hundreds of new residences and shopping to include a Whole Foods. Elsewhere in 2017, snazzy townhomes debuted while Chamblee’s midcentury housing stock—like its vintage downtown district—continued to shine.

Virginia-Highland (14)

For whatever reason, Virginia-Highland has traditionally been a Curbed Cup dud, despite its popularity and beauty (both architectural and natural). But maybe 2017 can turn those tides.

A midcentury remix in Virginia-Highland that captured an AIA award for architect Robert M. Cain this year.
© Fredrik Brauer via Robert M. Cain

With its nitty-gritty Bohemian days long gone, Virginia-Highland commands some of the highest prices for homes in Atlanta. But this tony district hasn’t gathered enough pre-tourney nominations to even enter the “Neighborhood of the Year” soiree since 2014. Obviously, with a No. 14 seed, something’s going right thus far in 2017.

Va-Hi collected a feather in its fancy cap in June, when online real estate brokerage named it among Atlanta’s top three neighborhoods for families, weighing data from the U.S. Census Bureau, moving companies, and even the FBI, among other sources. Elsewhere, the neighborhood’s famed commercial strip, which has had troubles keeping storefronts filled, embraced a new Italian market this year, while individual Va-Hi houses racked up awards, commanded nearly $2 million, and otherwise boggled minds.

What’s more, the neighborhood’s section of the Beltline’s Eastside Trail inched closer to having actual lights, as installation should begin in spring at the latest, Beltline officials recently said.