City Markets Extend Reach Into The Suburbs

Pedestrians pass through a tunnel at Ponce City Market in 2016. Suburbs outside Atlanta are considering adding markets like Ponce City and Krog Street.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press
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Ponce City Market and Krog Street Market spurred a new development trend for retail and restaurants in Atlanta. But now the suburbs are trying to get in on the action.

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Both Alpharetta and Marietta are looking to create their own go-to spots outside of Atlanta.

In fact, Alpharetta is about to get a Krog-inspired market next spring. Marietta is next with the planned opening of Marietta Square Market in Marietta Square next summer.

Roger Tutterow, who teaches economics at Kennesaw State University, said he wouldn’t worry about suburban competition.

“The advantage to Ponce and Krog is that’s an area that has you know, some critical mass and has some history built now in terms of the entertainment value,” Tutterow said. He added the fact both of those markets are on the Atlanta BeltLine helps too.

Lily Heimburger works with Atlanta developers to book tenants. She thinks these trendy destinations can also be successful in the suburbs.

“Those people have money too,” Heimburger said. “And they don’t want to have to drive downtown or midtown to go to these places and have that kind of experience. So there’s room for it.”

But not anyone can build this type of a mixed-use development, said Heimburger. It’s hard to implement.

“You have to have the right mix of users and the right people,” she said. “Everyone has to get along, you know. There’s 20 users in one space. It’s a happy family but it’s not always happy.”

However, Tutterow cautions developers who want to mimic Ponce and Krog to be aware of both age and income groups.

“It’s a great product,” Tutterow said. “But it’s not one that’s going to be appealing to every demographic.”