By Sean Keenan & Miranda Hawkins Staff reporters
Between 1,200 and 1,600 customers stroll through the new Krog Street Market (KSM) every Saturday to shop, eat and drink, according to Property Manager Scott Shackelford.
Shackelford and the team at Paces Properties Realty transformed a dilapidated complex into the thriving market located in the heart of Inman Park.
“The area wasn’t being utilized at all. It was an eyesore. We took something from the railroad district and provided a source of income for the city through property taxes, giving a centerpiece to Inman Park,” he said.
Lily Heimburger, vice president of SRS realty, said KSM is a place for local businesses to flourish without a large retail space.
“It was a chance for all of these fabulous entrepreneurs to be able to put their thumbprint here and have a few 100-square-foot stall without having to open a full fledged restaurant,” she said.
However, Paces Properties also took a risk making this investment, according to Heimburger.
“We closed on the property with zero leases signed, which is very rare; a lot of risk involved,” she said.
Paces Property purchased the 3,000-square-foot lot three years ago without initially knowing what they were going to do with the space, according to Heimburger.
“Basically it started with lots of architecture meetings trying to figure out what we’re going to do with it. [We had] one hundred different site plans,” she said.
Heimburger also said the decision to reconstruct the building into Krog Street resulted from a suggestion.
“It started out with five restaurants and we didn’t know what to do with the interior. Someone suggested, ‘Why not do a market?’ and that idea took a shape of its own,” she said.
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With the completion of Krog Street Market, Paces Property is showing interest in further community development, according to Heimburger.
“Now that Paces has done this, they’re interested in going into the communities like East Atlanta Village for redevelopment,” she said. “They’re building new apartments there at the old Gordon School and redeveloping this retail on Glenwood and Grisham.”
Shackelford said this growth will be a stimulant to the local and state economy.
“You’ve got property taxes that are now being paid to the city that weren’t paid before by that vacant piece of property,” he said. “The city is going to take that money and revitalize even further.”
Some nearby businesses are also reaping the benefits of the influx of consumer traffic, according to Shackelford.
“You’ve got small businesses that are taking advantage of that; people doing record sales here for providing a service for the area,” he said.
In addition the inundation of local business, Krog Street will soon host the Alexan, an apartment complex owned and developed by Trammell Crow Residential (TCR), according to Development Associate Elliot Howell.
Howell said the new residence is a response to the growth in the area.
“We have sought locations where multiple new uses are being introduced – primarily new retail or office developments that bring new jobs or a new ‘buzz’ to a particular area,” he said.
Howell also said TCR has a responsibility to engage locations with a potential for expansion.
“As a residential developer we are only one component of the activity that may be happening in an area and are drawn to areas like Inman Park that are seeing growth across multiple product types,” he said.
The location for KSM was carefully chosen based on its community accessibility, according to Howell.
“In the case of Inman Park, we were drawn to the opportunity to build at Krog Street because of the excitement surrounding the neighborhood overall, the retail development at Krog Street Market and its proximity to the BeltLine,” he said.
Jake Rothschild, founder and owner of neighboring Jake’s Ice Cream and the Irwin Street Market, said the Atlanta BeltLine has been instrumental to the area’s progress.
“The BeltLine has been our best friend in every conceivable way,” he said.
Krog Street is the result of demand for a staple business within the Inman Park community, according to Shackelford.
“We wanted to provide an installation to the community that they could be part of,” he said.
Shackelford also said KSM accommodates the Inman Park community.
“It is providing something that wasn’t in the neighborhood before; whether that’s a need for places, for entertainment, to bars, to retail installations, for people to come and grab their goods,” he said.
Krog Street has a “little bit of everything” and offers a variety of businesses, according to Shackelford.
“We have the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker,” he said.
Heimburger said it was important that Krog Street housed local businesses.
“Atlanta has a very loyal restaurant following. They want their local restaurant talent coming in and doing what they do best, which is why all our restaurants are local, Jeni’s being the exception,” she said.
Shackelford said in order to adequately provide for the local businesses, it is important to be aware of the community’s needs.
“We have to listen to the community and what they want. These are small business owners who have a vested interest in making [Krog Street Market] successful,” he said.
Along with Paces Properties, other developers have taken an interest in revitalizing the communities of Atlanta, according to Shackelford.
“It’s not just us,” he said. “Other developers across the city are doing the same thing. Inman Quarters is going down here, as well as Ponce City Market and other developments that we’re working on to revitalize the area.”
There have also been complaints within the community regarding KSM’s operation. Rothschild said he’s noticed the customer service at KSM has been what he called “less than stellar.”
“I think the employees that are there working as hard as they know how to are so overwhelmed by the crowd that they have forgotten that a smile and a kind word are extremely important,” he said.
Georgia State student Portia Jordan bartends at KSM Hop City and said her friends have brought some problems to her attention.
“The lack of parking on weekends — it’s crazy,” she said.
Although KSM has four different parking lots, the Alexan will bring more traffic when housing begins, according to Heimberger.
Rothschild said that while parking space was a major issue, the market’s pricing has been the most prevalent complaint.
Chi Chi Lopez, manager of the Lotta Frutta one block west of KSM, said he finds the popularity of the market to be only a small threat to Lotta Frutta’s business because he believes KSM cannot continue to thrive with such high prices.
“We don’t see the Krog [Street] Market as competition,” he said. “I see it as a small threat because it’s a brand new development so everybody is curious but you end up paying high prices there. Everything there is overpriced. What you pay there to buy one lunch, you can use to pay for two lunches [here].”
Lopez also said KSM has the competitive advantage of selling alcohol. He noticed business slowing down between 4 and 5 p.m.
“We don’t serve any alcohol and they have more than one bar there,” Lopez said. “We decided to pay a visit to the new location and we discovered that it was a bunch of people definitely enjoying themselves, so we put two and two together and we figured it was affecting us.”
Jordan has worked at KSM since January and calls her time there “a whirlwind.” Jordan also said she has faith in the continued success of the market.
“I believe KSM is in it for the long haul,” she said. “With its location on the BeltLine in a walking neighborhood, business will continue to thrive.”
Like the developments around Krog Street and the Inman Park area, Georgia State has also played a role in reinvigorating the city, according to Shackelford.
“Georgia State has been one of those institutions that has revitalized Atlanta,” he said. “You see what’s happening up and down Dekalb Avenue, and they’ve taken over and made an area that was once an eyesore and revived it.”
Shackelford also said the repair of these areas has set the pace for more development to come.
“Georgia State has taken those steps… it is for the betterment of the city itself,” he said.