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Curbed Cup Elite Eight: (2) Old Fourth Ward vs. (7) Kirkwood

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Which neighborhood should advance to the Final Four?

A photo of Historic Fourth Ward Park in Old Fourth Ward.
In post-recession Atlanta, new apartments and reclaimed, blighted land have become ubiquitous in O4W.
Curbed Atlanta

The Curbed Cup, our annual award for Atlanta’s “Neighborhood of the Year,” kicked off last week with 16 neighborhoods vying for the prestigious (fake) trophy. Now it’s time for Elite Eight action! (Seeding from 1 to 16 was determined by reader nominations this month). Polls will be open for 24 hours, so let the eliminations resume!

Old Fourth Ward (2)

The final Elite Eight contest of this year’s Curbed Cup sees two past champions going toe-to-toe in what could be a bout for the ages.

Both Old Fourth Ward (the fake trophy winner in 2012) and Kirkwood (2013) are finishing the year with a full head of steam, in terms of neighborhood-altering construction.

But outside of whatever The Gulch becomes, O4W now claims development plans that could be the most seismic in Atlanta, with the unveiling of New City’s $750-million vision for Georgia Power’s former park-adjacent acreage; if all comes to fruition, that architecturally daring concept could complete a true Beltline canyon of urban vibrancy from Ralph McGill Boulevard up to Ponce. Which beats a parking lot for electric company vehicles and a hulking, vacant City Hall East—that is, the O4W of a decade ago. (But still, R.I.P. original Masquerade).

Elsewhere in the O4W of 2017, a new Beltline segment opened at last, the Atlanta Civic Center changed hands, the Beltline-spanning Edge project began to take shape, Ponce City Market gave a Phase 2 sneak peek, and one jaw-dropping bungalow with Louis XVI inspirations landed a contract.

Kirkwood (7)

In last week’s opening round, Kirkwood made quick work of dispatching proud tourney newcomer Howell Station, lassoing about 66 percent of votes. And that’s hardly surprising, given K-wood’s strong track record of Curbed Cup successes since achieving eternal prestige with the 2013 crown (a Finals and two Final Four appearances have come in subsequent years).

One of Pullman Yard’s main structures.
Curbed Atlanta

Sure, this historic eastside neighborhood (and former sovereign city unto itself) is up against a motivated juggernaut in Old Fourth Ward, but Kirkwood of 2017 wasn’t exactly idle. Plans were finally put in motion this year to turn the largest chunk of undeveloped land in these parts, Pullman Yard, into a sort of hybrid Ponce/Krog/Lakewood studios with a boutique hotel and urban forest component, per the new owner’s plans.

Elsewhere, basically every postage stamp of available K-wood land is being developed as large homes and townhomes. And a formerly blighted property connected to Kirkwood’s downtown village has been transformed into 270 apartments called The Kirkwood, which developers have long promised will be a cheaper, market-rate option for renters priced out of places such as Midtown and, well, Old Fourth Ward.