Atlantic Station is turning sixteen this year. What better way to celebrate than to turn back the clock and learn about Atlantic Station’s storied history? There’s more to this dynamic shopping district than you might think.
Before it was a cultural hub, Atlantic Station was a steel mill
In the early 20th century, the economy of the south was based on agriculture. Atlanta’s position as a major rail center made it a logical place to develop new industrial mills and plants, which helped diversify the local economy.
Some of the materials needed to package southern agricultural products, including the steel hoops needed to hold wooden barrels, were made exclusively in the north. On March 5, 1901, the Atlanta Steel Hoop Company opened up shop at the current site of Atlantic Station to help resolve this supply chain issue.
Atlantic Steel made major contributions to the city’s growth
In 1906, the Atlanta Steel Hoop Company produced the very first steel made in Georgia, and the organization shortly thereafter changed its name to the Atlanta Steel Company. In 1915, the company once again reorganized and changed its name to Atlantic Steel.
Under this moniker, the organization played a massive role in the city’s growth by creating jobs and contributing to the local economy. It also contributed great amounts of steel to the country’s military efforts during WWI. Then, Atlantic Steel began employing women as early 1943 as many of Atlanta’s young men went off to fight in WWII.
In 1949, Atlantic Steel granted the city of Atlanta permission to build a major North-South highway across its property. You might know it as that little road we now call the Downtown Connector.
Atlantic Station has always been community-minded
In 1926, the Atlantic Steel Credit Union was organized in an effort to build a community among all of the workers at the mill. We continue this tradition of community by offering dozens of free events for Atlanta citizens and visitors each year.
Atlantic Steel survived a major fire…barely
In 1963, a fire destroyed the wire- and nail-producing buildings at Atlantic Steel. The company didn’t let the tragedy stop its momentum—it continued to expand and prosper, employing over 2,000 individuals, for another decade.
In the 1970s, Atlantic Steel could no longer shoulder the rising costs of production in the center of a burgeoning city. The company began looking for a more profitable location and was eventually acquired by Ivaco. Soon after, some operations were shut down. Finally, operations ceased on December 23, 1998.
Developing Atlantic Station was anything but easy
In 1998, Jacoby Development purchased the complex with plans to rebuild on the site. Jacoby faced several major challenges, including contamination from the old steel mill. The developers also had to improve public access to the site and ensure all buildings and operations were compatible with the surrounding community. Finally, Jacoby pledged to build the site as an environmentally conscious development, which required extra efforts during the building process.
Several movies have been filmed at Atlantic Station
Thanks to Georgia’s tax incentives for entertainment companies, productions like Noelle, Bad Boys For Life, Vampire Diaries, Queer Eye and multiple commercials have been filmed on-site. You never know when you might run into a celeb on the property!
Atlantic Station continues to draw crowds
Today, more than 6,000 people live on site and more than 11 million people visit Atlantic Station each year. We host free events celebrating all types of holidays and cultures, from Valentine’s Day mixers to inclusive holiday events, with no plans to slow down any time soon.
Interested in learning more? We recently developed a free historic walking tour that you can listen to on Soundcloud. The tour will take you to ten stops that look at the history of Atlanta and Atlantic Station from the 1800s to now. We also share more information and a walking tour map on our website. If you enjoy the tour, share your experience with us on social media by tagging #LookatAsNow. Happy walking!