RFD Social

By on Sep 25, 2017 in News

An eye-catching yet awkward space may soon become Atlanta’s hottest new bar and lounge.

The site of Ponce City Market was once home to Sears, Roebuck & Co. headquarters. When it opened in 1926, newspapers heralded the 2.1 million square-foot building as the largest brick structure in the southeastern United States for decades. It remained in operation until 1987.PCM-Aerial Looking NE-20151031.jpg

In 2012, the site reopened as a mixed-use hot spot for Atlanta locals and tourists alike. Nearly 85 businesses call Ponce City Market home. Restaurants, clothiers, bars, and artisanal shops share a space the buzzes with energy and young, hip shoppers.

Though Ponce City Market has enjoyed success, its iconic tower remained desolate. Shops and restaurants occupied lower levels of the structure but the unique vision for floors 10, 10.5, 11, and 12 lingered unfulfilled.

What Now Atlanta reports that operator Slater Hospitality has finally found a suitable use for the challenging 16,172 square-foot space. Plans for RFD Social are in the works.

Rumor has it that RFD Social is short for Dinner Bell Radio Farmers’ Democracy, a radio show that once broadcast from the Atlanta Sears Tower in the 1920s. Kevin Slater, owner at Slater Hospitality, has not confirmed or denied this claim.

RFD Social will include a multi-level bar and lounge, as well as an events space with a catering kitchen.

Adjoining businesses include Skyline Park, Nine Mile Station restaurant, and Rooftop Terrace events space.

While locals are excited to see the space put to good use, a few questions remain unanswered since the press release issued in late August.

“I want to know if it will be a public space or if it will only be for private events,” said Kimmey Elliot, 26, an Old Fourth Ward resident.  “We don’t need another Rooftop Terrace but the catering kitchen makes me wonder.”

Slater remains tight-lipped about the new development.

Ethan Schneider, 31, frequents W.H. Stiles Fish Camp, a restaurant in the market’s Central Food Hall. Though he enjoys many aspects of Ponce City Market, he has tampered his enthusiasm about the rooftop development.

Schneider said, “It costs $10 just to get up there—if you can get up there—because the whole roof is often closed for private events. Then the costs of drinks and food are crazy expensive, like Vegas Strip expensive. This building is a huge piece of Atlanta history. More Atlantans should be able to enjoy it but a lot of folks are priced out, you know? Gentrification and all that.”

He reconsidered after taking a bite of his “unbelievable” lobster roll.  “But this whole building used to be abandoned for decades so how much complaining is reasonable?” said Schneider.

What Now Atlanta will continue with developments on the story.