Archives for category: Neighborhoods

Tune in Wednesday, November 10th to the CMA’s (that’s Country Music Awards for you head-bangers out there), and see GK|CRE client and one of Atlanta’s favorite home-grown bands, the Zac Brown Band, tear up the stage and hopefully collect a few awards (they won a Grammy earlier in the year for Best New Artist, and are nominated for Best New Artist, Best Vocal Group, Best Song, and Best Event of the Year for the CMA’s).

Yep, we helped them find their new office and warehouse space (location is CONFIDENTIAL, of course), but they put themselves on the map! Tune in as they take the stage and join in the pride we all feel. Congrats, boys, you’ve got “Whatever It is”!

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Oh, how we love you, Virginia-Highland (can we call you Va-Hi?).  There’s no denying that you’re the crowd favorite for “best walking neighborhood” in Atlanta, which is obviously why we chose you for our hypothetical GK|CRE walking tour.  Not to say that we haven’t trekked the route we’re about to map out down North Highland Avenue, but we probably haven’t stopped in EVERY place to eat/drink/shop/what-have-you in the same day.  But, let’s pretend…

If there’s a neighborhood in Atlanta that evokes the “movie feel” with its quaint vibe and unique storefronts and restaurants, it’s Va-Hi (remember Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel took over Belly General Store to film the rom-com, Life As We Know It, just a few months back?).  So, we’ll start our tour at Movies Worth Seeing, the 20+ year old video rental spot (technically in Morningside), where we’ll pick up a few of our old favorites like Annie Hall, Manhattan and Urban Cowboy.  You won’t be able to find those OnDemand.

On a Saturday morning, we’ll hit Morningside Farmers Market, which has been offering exclusively organic produce since 1995 and is open every single Saturday, all year round.  We at GK|CRE like things we can count on.  After we’ve snagged a recyclable bag full of healthy goodness, we can’t help but sneak across the street to Alon’s Bakery and treating ourselves to their homemade cinnamon sticks.  Talk about a snack that’ll get you into the fall/winter spirit.

Backtracking just a few steps, we like to visit our friends Skip & Houston at Highland Wine and Crystal from time to time, and who can blame us:  the place has more than 800 carefully selected wines from all over the world.  We’ll toast to that.

Cruising down North Highland Ave. to the Amsterdam intersection, we’ll always stop in Armour & Co. – by far, our favorite place in the city for home furnishings.

We admire the beautiful pieces, and can’t help but admire the beautiful (both inside and out) owner, Jayme Leffler, whose sense of style and space is immaculate.  Listen to us, getting all gushy.  Let’s man up and head over to DBA Barbecue, one of our top Va-Hi picks for a lunch meeting or casual beer with friends.  We recommend the pulled chicken sandwich and green beans.

After our hearty meal, it’s time to head down toward the intersection of North Highland and Virginia Ave., for which the ‘hood was named.  Before we hit the four corners, there’s Paper Source to pick up the perfect card or stationary, Juicy Green for a froyo fix, Moe’s and Joe’s (ie. PBR Land) for the ultimate laid-back atmosphere and people-watching, and of course, Fire Station 19.  Did ya know it’s Atlanta’s oldest operating fire station?  Check it out in the 1920s…

In the most central area of the ‘hood is Murphy’s, which is and will always be one of our favorite Va-Hi restaurants.  With the amazing brunch, lunch and dinner menus and great wine selection, we give kudos to Tom Murphy – he’s got a good (and long-lasting) thing going.  GK|CRE client Aurora Coffee is right next door and we love their chill, anti-corporate vibe, which may just attributed to the place being founded “by a couple fugitives from the 9-5 world” back in 1992.

Continuing on our tour de foot, we stumble upon the “music lovers” part of town.  Blind Willie’s has some of the best blues music in the city and live acts every night (except Sunday when they’re closed).  10 High (below Dark Horse for you newbies) is home to Metalsome Inc., which takes place every Monday, Friday and Saturday, and if you don’t know what it is, we advise you to just show up and experience it, sans preconceived notions.  The same with the Yacht Rock Revue every Thursday.  Why do we love this infamous Atlanta act?  Hall & Oates.  Members Only jackets.  Enough said.

Next stop:  Surin of Thailand, where we’re never too full to belly up to the bar and order the basil rolls and a cold Singha brew.  A few doors down is Bill Hallman, which as you Atlantans know, is the name of the trendy unisex store, as well as the stylish owner.  Bill is a friend and client of GK|CRE and we helped open his location at the Shops Around Lenox, so now we have two places in town to pick up that sweet new pair of jeans.

After looking both ways, we’ll pop across Ponce de Leon Ave. where Urban Outfitters will supply us with the perfect shirt (to go with our new jeans), and the Plaza Theatre will supply us with the perfect flick when we’re feeling artsy.  And, let’s not forget the Majestic – serving a bangin’ breakfast whether it’s 10 a.m. or 4 a.m.  Not that we’ve been there at 4 a.m. or anything….

We like to stop into Café di Sol for the one-of-a-kind, mouthwatering Grapefruit Rosewater Martini, before ending our tour at the corner of North and North Highland.  There’s the historic Manuel’s Tavern, the Va-Hi landmark that is Buddy’s gas station/convenience store, and Videodrome – a great place to pick up a DVD recommended by their knowledgeable staff.   Yep, we started our tour of the picture-perfect Va-Hi at one movie store and ended it at another.  You might say the two places are bookends, or rather, movie-ends.  And, after all this walking, eating, drinking and shopping…returning home and watching a movie sounds just about right.  A Hollywood ending, you might say.

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We think we’ve found the ultimate (legal) “pick-me-up”.  Of course, we love our coffee and the scintillating refreshment of a cold Whynatte, but this is something a little different that gives us a long-lasting energy boost with health benefits (is this starting to sound like a commercial to you too?).  Arden’s Garden Grand Slam is one ounce each of four juices: wheatgrass, ginger, lemon and cranberry, each with its own special “superpower” for the body, and we have been reaping its benefits.

This handsome foursome of shots is just one of the reasons we’re excited to be responsible for representing the Atlanta History Center in leasing space for the new Arden’s Garden coming to 90 Peachtree Place in Historic Commercial Row, right next to the Margaret Mitchell House.  Arden’s will literally be written into history with this spot!  History, health and a natural high?  We’ll take it.

We got to thinking that Midtown itself is somewhat of a Grand Slam, because A.) it’s just pretty damn awesome all around, and B.) we like to think of it in terms of four major bases:  Piedmont Park (exercise), the High Museum of Art (uh, art), the Fox Theatre (culture) and SCAD (education & community).

Piedmont Park is clutch for all kinds of outdoor activities – running, rollerblading, swimming, volleyball, soccer, and basically any other sport you can think of.  Except polo – we heard they don’t allow that.

Then, of course, there is all that surrounds the Park (Park Tavern, The Nook, Skate Escape for you bikers), and the close-by GK|CRE property, Amsterdam Walk. While at AW, we like grabbing a pitcher of capirinihas at Loca Luna, while our canine friends prefer visiting Piedmont Bark – one of the best dog care facilities in town and home of dog groomer extraordinaire Raymond DeLeon, who (if you close one eye), may just remind you of Cesar Milan. Amsterdam Walk, owned by Halpern Enterprises, is also home to The International Preschool, so if you see young ones running around, you’ll know what that’s all about.

As much as we love running in and around the Park, sometimes we (and by “we”, we mean Gene) can’t help but take a jog through the piazza at the High to enjoy the view of the majestic buildings.  And, when we’re (all of us this time) not running, we like to stroll through the exhibit du moment. Dali was rad, but we also enjoy the more obscure exhibits and artwork found on the first floor, like the photographs of Danish-born American photographer Peter Sekaer, on view ‘til January 9.

When art interpretation has us famished, we pick up sandwiches or salads at Joli Kobe and say hello to our friend, Tawn Chi, the manager.  For the record, we recommend the Chicken Salad (and a chocolate éclair for dessert).  But, when we’re going for something a little heavier (and pricier, for that matter), we like to make new friends, but keep the old – in this case, Empire State South is silver, and Park 75, gold.  We’re feeling everything about Empire State South from the Braised Beef Short Ribs to the expertly mixed Manhattan to the …wait for it…outdoor bocce court.

It’s got the Southern hospitality thing going, but is by no means stuffy and old-fashioned.  Kinda like us.  As for Park 75, this classic still serves one of the best meals in town.  The filet is always perfection and the staff will make you feel right at home.

Onto our third base: The Fabulous Fox Theatre.  We love the history of “Mighty Mo” (the second largest theatre organ in the country) and the recent rumor-proven-true that a “star” on the ceiling of the theatre is, in fact, a piece of a Coca-Cola bottle.  Oh, and the top Broadway shows and concerts by musical icons like Jane’s Addiction aren’t too bad, either.  We usually start or end the night at Livingston (and, of course, utilize their valet for the evening), and Churchill Grounds, our favorite jazz club, is right across Peachtree.  Russell Gunn is “bionic” and we always make a point to see him when he’s playing the Churchill Grounds’ stage.  Fellas, take note if you’re looking for something different than the typical dinner-and-a-movie date.

Last, but not least, and rounding out the “bases” is the renowned SCAD (that’s Savannah College of Art and Design for you out-of-towners).  Some of the best designers in the country have come out of the school, and we’ll admit it:  we know that a recent grad (April Johnston) is currently on Project Runway.  Hey, everyone has their TV vices.  And, while the students are talented as hell, the staff running the show is as good as it gets.  For Gene’s upcoming radio show airing on The Voice of the Arts (ssshhh, more details on that later), he interviewed Robert Brown, chair of printmaking at SCAD. However, it’s what SCAD has contributed to the community, in addition to better looking waiters and waitresses, that has us impressed. From design to art to architecture to digital media to open-to-the public exhibitions, these guys “get it”!

These four landmarks serve as anchors to the community and hold their significance, but we can’t ignore all the coolness happening on the Midtown Mile – Exhale Spa, CB2, 5th Street Cafe, all within walking distance.  We know we are safe when trekking around this part of town with Midtown Blue in full force and Colonel Wayne Mock (read: Atl’s modern-day John Wayne) at the helm.  And, with 44 cameras all over the ‘hood, any of you aspiring hooligans better pick a new part of town (or just stay out of trouble altogether).

There’s a lot to enjoy in Midtown.  With all the endless options of arts and entertainment, exercise, dining, and nightlife, we’re exhausted (in a good way) just talking about it.  Looks like it’s time for another Grand Slam.

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Yep, we too drank the Westside Kool-Aid.  That’s right, GK|CRE just moved into our sweet, new, David Daniels designed space on the Westside, right next to Octane Coffee (read: our caffeine intake has increased exponentially). It’s been interesting and exciting to watch this part of town grow over the last half-decade.  Not too many years ago, the Water Treatment Facility was the highlight of the neighborhood.  But, these days, we have everything from tacos to couture to speakeasies and swanky furniture on the Westside of town (also commonly referred to as “West Midtown”).

As Atlanta’s original “meatpacking district,” the Westside has a lot of rich history, and it also has a great arts scene.  Over here at GK|CRE, we do attempt to stay cultured, and frequent the The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (Our head honcho, Gene Kansas, served a 3-year term on the board).  Membership does have its privileges: openings, exhibits, artist lectures, amazing art.  We were in awe over our good friend, and Atlanta artist, Shana Robbin’s exhibit, Supernatural Conductor, on display ‘til September 19, and we’re sure her super-stylish dad, Alan Robbins, over at White Provisions’ Knoll Furniture is proud too.

We’d be remiss to not throw in a quick shout out to Shana’s husband, Alex Martinez, who is by far our favorite photographer (but only in the Universe).

Speaking of cool and artsy, Savvy Snoot is our go-to for the funkier side of furniture and decorating.  We love talking with Marty Mason, the owner of Savvy, and, with his impeccable taste and smart business sense, we can’t help but wonder if the store is just named after him….?  Well-known for their chic selection of consignment pieces, they also have a great art collection.  Just ask Brooke Shields, who recently picked up a piece.

And, while we’re on the topic of shopping, we’re all a little worried about our ”professional development” budget, as GK|CRE is now walking distance to Sid Mashburn.  Just like we’re not the the typical “good ol’ boy” commercial real estate firm, Sid is not the typical retailer.

Sure, they’ve got the Southern hospitality thing down (walk in, and they’ll greet you with a Coke and a smile), but they definitely don’t entertain the standard “Southern” look (read: khakis, button-down, dirty hat).  Our friend, Sid, who obviously started the whole thing, is from Mississippi, and was a top designer at Ralph Lauren in New York City before heading back to Atlanta and giving guys like us the perfect place to shop for cool, stylish, and comfortable clothing while knocking out a game of ping pong if the mood strikes.  And, did we mention Sid was voted one of GQ’s top 10 Most Stylish Men in America?  Hey, what can we say, we like keepin’ good company.

While over at Sid’s, we can’t help but walk 20 feet to JCT for a drink and usually end up staying for a meal.  We don’t know how our buddy, Ford Fry, creates such perfection, but we don’t really care.  His shrimp and grits are the best in town (and have been known to cure a hangover or two).  We could put in some serious hours on the JCT patio, but when we can only swing a quick bite, the Westside has our back.  We crush burgers at Bocado ’cause they rock.  And, like the rest of Atlanta, we gotta have our Taqueria del Sol, but lately, we’ve gotten hooked on another kind of taco:  Korean tacos at Hankook Taqueria.  We like the Dak Gogi chicken taco and the Crispy Shrimp is real good, we also “like” them on Facebook (because with lack of an official web site, we somehow have to know what they’re serving up each day).

Yeah! Burger (Shaun Doty, you know we dig your style) and West Egg should also be prepared to see us more frequently as we settle into our new digs.  We’re getting hungry just thinking about all these food options.  Oh…damn, almost forgot the Swedish Meatballs at IKEA at Atlantic Station.  Holla.

With all the new stuff popping up on our (new) side of town, we still have to show love to the spots that have been holding down the Westside for years, like Bacchanalia (well, for special occasions), and on the opposite end of the spectrum, Northside Tavern.  The true dive bar has not changed a bit in 30+ years (we’re pretty sure the original bartenders are still there), and it’s one of the best places to kick back, have a beer, listen to blues, play some pool, and of course, people-watch.  We highly recommend it as a change of scenery for anyone who’s been frequenting the swankier bars and clubs around town too much.

And, when you’re done eatin’ and drinkin’ and shoppin’, if you just so happen to get the urge to buy, sell or lease some commercial real estate, pop on over and see us.

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