Monday, July 6, 2009

Atlanta's Highland Walk Becomes Morningside Village

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Here is the new sign in front of Doc Chey's. How about that yellow house? It's a good one.

The corner of Highland Avenue and University is the one and only commercial area in Atlanta's Morningside / Lenox Park Neighborhood. Most suburbanites don't want to live near "the store" but in urban neighborhoods, these commercial areas add the the walkable charm. That is, if you don't have music blaring until midnight.

They've just refurbished some of the buildings. Today they are adding new sign and a new name. Maybe the Highland Walk Apartments far from here had a problem but I'd think the new name reflects the location and the vibe. This is one great neighborhood. Merchants need to take advantage of the Morningside brand.

For design fans "Morningside Village is the home of Providence Antiques; for food fans: Alon's, Caramba Cafe, and Doc Chey's Noodle House and more; for film buffs: Movies Worth Seeing.

Anyway this is new urbanism in an older location. It's not dense but there is walkability in a neighborhood with good schools and relative safety.

When I moved here (1977) it had passed it's prime but it was a genuine neighborhood shopping center. There was a Kroger, gas station, hardware store, paint store, seafood store, shoe shop. No restaurants. As smaller neighbor hood stores fell to the larger chains, the main commercial building on the east side of Highlands burned down. Most of the tenants never came back.

But the famous (in Atlanta) Partners Restaurant and Indigo Coastal Grill took up residence in the unburned south end and became "in" places that mirrored the comeback of Morningside and Virginia Highlands. Partners and Indigo became destinations for our neighbors and for foodies citywide. We used to order spicy conch fritters and the very tart "Dan's Mom's Key Lime Pie" for takeout.

When they closed the Kroger, they sub-divided the building and gave it a modern facade. Over the last year they've removed the metal/modern look and gave it a stone/tile look. Today we have a new sign and a new name.

Real estate ads can now say: "just 4 blocks from Morningside Village. This is the sort of thing that keeps home prices high.

7 comments:

  1. Interesting. I will keep an eye out for the new sign.

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  2. I know I should appreciate small improvements but I still don't like the suburban-style layout of this shopping area. I much prefer the other shopping districts along Highland where buildings are flush to the street and you can window-shop.

    http://atlantaunsheltered.com/

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  3. Hmm- very interesting. Must keep a lookout. And agree about the neighborhood names=keeping prices high.

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  4. When I first moved to Atlanta, Indigo Grill was one of those places that we used to frequent with friends. I loved those conch fritters and key lime pie! It closed some years ago, didn't it? Once we had kids, we didn't explore the restaurant scene like we used to.

    I got a great lamp at Providence last year, it is glass with a green swirl in it, reminds me of a marble.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Rosebud, formerly Food 101, now occupies the Indigo and Partners space. There were several failures before Food101. Parters/Indigo had their run and it is a good memory.

    To Ciambellina
    I can't complain about the parking lot. It's about the right size to keep parking away from homes most of the time. Plus it's out in the open rather than hidden behind a building or on a dark street so it feels safer to me. In some sense it centers the businesses - allows breathing space in the middle.

    I admire the thought that went into the little commercial district. It was important when built, suffered a decline, and has been flexible enough to be valuable today.

    But it was really great to have a Kroger 4 blocks from my house with managers and staff that you got to know.

    P.S. Caramba Cafe's balcony overlooking Lanier Blvd is one the great public places in the neighborhood.

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  7. Revitalization always "feels" good, doesn't it?

    Susan

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