The construction of the 101 Ponce Plaza building at the corner of Clairemont Avenue and West Ponce de Leon is an outstanding example of the negotiating skills of members of the DDA board. In order to maximize views of the Courthouse, the site plan for the property included two office buildings (one facing West Ponce and one facing Clairemont) with a concrete plaza filling the corner at this critical downtown intersection.
The Town Center Plan clearly outlined the importance of recreating the traditional urban “room” by planking buildings up to the sidewalk and mimicking the relationship that existing historic buildings had with the street. A sterile, concrete plaza was a suburban solution and didn’t follow the standards of the Town Center Plan. Yet the developer wanted to maintain sight lines to the Old Courthouse for the proposed Clairemont building.
The compromise worked out by DDA board member Jim Philips was to pull out the banking component planned for the first building into a small, stand-alone structure that filled the corner and was connected to the larger office building through a basement level. This creative solution achieved the goals of the developer and met the design standards established by the Town Center Plan.
The first office building was completed in 1991 and became the home of Emory Healthcare in 1994. The second has not been built and remains a prime downtown redevelopment site.