Rumors have been zinging around social media for several days that a large swath of Ponce de Leon Avenue has been gobbled up by a developer who plans to bulldoze beloved Virginia-Highland institutions like MJQ Concourse, The Local, Drunken Unicorn, Bookhouse Pub, and Java Jive. The rumor gained traction after 8ARM restaurant announced that it would be closing in October after its BeltLine-adjcent property was sold to developer Cartel Properties. Then, VESTA Fitboxing posted on Instagram that it was seeking a new location after the entire block of Ponce from its location to the 8ARM and former Paris on Ponce building had also been gobbled up, presumably by Cartel. A map circulating on Reddit and Twitter showed the entire north side of Ponce from the BeltLine to the Honey Bubble property would be razed to make way for new development. Virginia-Highland Civic Association President David Brandenberger, told Urbanize Atlanta that it was all “conjecture at this point,” while the website noted that five parcels on the block are currently owned by five different individuals or corporations.

Mayor Andre Dickens has appointed Justin Cutler to serve as the City of Atlanta’s Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner. Cutler is a Certified Parks & Recreation Executive (CPRE) by the National Recreation & Parks Association with over 20 years of experience. Prior to joining the City of Atlanta, Cutler served as the Director of Recreation Services for the City of Seattle. His appointment is effective Aug. 1.

George Hirthler (left) was presented with the Pierre de Coubertin Medal by IOC President Thomas Bach.

The International Olympic Committee presented its rarest Olympic medal – the Pierre de Coubertin Medal – to Atlanta-based author/historian George Hirthler. He played a large role in Atlanta’s 1996 Olympic games, including writing the city’s “bid book” for the IOC, installing the Courbertin statue in Centennial Olympic Park (where he also wrote most of the carved texts) and has written a historical novel, “The Idealist,” about the Olympics that has been optioned for a film. IOC President Thomas Bach said: “George Hirthler has put his creative skills at the service of the Olympic  Movement for more than 30 years, and never more so than in ‘The Idealist,’ his inspiring fictionalized biography  of our founder, Pierre de Coubertin. Even in fictional form, ‘The Idealist’ captures faithfully Coubertin’s humanity  and spirit. George’s work brings Coubertin to life and illustrates his genius, and this medal reflects George’s  considerable contributions to our work and to keeping alive our founder’s legacy.” 

Collin KelleyEditor

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.