Jamestown CEO Matt Bronfman Talks Ponce City Market, Sustainability
Late last year, Jamestown unveiled new plans for Ponce City Market, the wildly popular and successful redevelopment along the Atlanta BeltLine in the heart of the city. The expansion project is designed to incorporate environmentally thoughtful initiatives and focus on efforts to reduce their environmental impact while supporting the community. The project will be built utilizing cross-laminated timber (CLT), and the desire is for the timber to be sourced from trees grown on Jamestown’s land base here in Georgia. Recently, Georgia Forestry Magazine had the opportunity to pose some questions to Matt Bronfman, CEO of Jamestown, about the new development, mass timber and sustainability.
Ponce City Market’s expansion project will include a four-story building constructed with cross-laminated timber.
Q: What are the primary goals of the new development? What values do you seek to provide to your tenants? MB: The four-story building will be constructed using CLT, keeping in line with Jamestown’s commitment to reduce embedded carbon in our buildings, and achieve zero net operational carbon throughout our portfolio by 2050. The 100,000-square-foot LEED-Gold designed commercial office building will offer its tenants light-filled, customizable floorplates with an option to create outdoor, private balconies. The ground floor will house 25,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and offer a seamless, direct connection to the new courtyard and neighborhood.
These plans keep sustainability top of mind with ample outdoor space, new technologies, green materials, and design that draws on the beauty of nature, while honoring the history of Ponce City Market. Q: What are the qualities or benefits of mass timber that attracted Jamestown to choose it as a structural material?
MB: The original Sears building was built in 1926, and the reimagined Ponce City Market opened in 2014. Today, Ponce City Market has become a major employment hub for creative and technology companies, and is currently home to 90 businesses. Around 10,000 people visit Ponce City Market each day, and nearly one half live and/or work in the neighborhood.
Ponce City Market is a truly unique place. Jamestown worked very hard to keep the building’s historic character in place during construction, and we believe it’s a big part of what draws people to the neighborhood. As we began the planning process for its expansion, we asked ourselves: How do you design and construct a new building to fit that historic aesthetic? And believe it or not, we were inspired by the hardwood floors in the market.
Q: How does mass timber help to address challenges with construction along the BeltLine near a very active retail location?
MB: Building on a commercially active site can often have many challenges, and Jamestown has spent a considerable amount of time putting together a construction timeline that will limit the impact on the residents, tenants, and their guests.
Mass timber (MT) is a great material to use when building on an already populated site, because it is delivered in preconstructed panels that are easy and efficient to assemble. In fact, MT structures often go up much faster than traditional buildings and do not require as much space for staging as other types of construction materials.
We also think that this construction technique is a great way to pay homage to Ponce’s Sears roots. Did you know that in the early 1900s, you could order a home from the Sears catalogue that was partially made from wood? Sears called it Honor Built, and the company would send you a complete home kit to assemble yourself. Some of these homes still stand today, and many are on the National Historic Registry.
Q: How does mass timber align with Jamestown’s core values and its commitment to sustainability and social responsibility?
MB: Jamestown is proud of its commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. Through Jamestown Green and the Jamestown Charitable Foundation, we are focused on efforts to reduce our impact on the environment and support the communities where we own and manage properties.
One of the most interesting components about this project for Jamestown is the opportunity to tie our timberland business to our commercial real estate business. Although we are still in the planning stages, we are exploring a way to connect a “Forest to Frame” supply chain — meaning, the project would be built from timber grown on our investors’ land base here in Georgia, making it a Georgia Grown building.
Q: In what ways do you see this as a leadership opportunity for Atlanta and Georgia?
MB: While Forestry Association members likely already know that Georgia is the top forestry state in the nation, this is not common knowledge to a lot of people in the greater Atlanta community. We hope that our partnership with the Georgia Forestry Foundation, and the design of a new mass-timber office building, will help educate more people about all the good things our forests in Georgia provide to us. ■
Georgia Forestry Magazine is published by HL Strategy, an integrated marketing and communications firm focused on our nation's biggest challenges and opportunities. Learn more at hlstrategy.com