Foster Grants by Kelly Jordan

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The City Center

It is Atlanta’s most historic intersection. But in the early years of Atlanta, Five Points was the junction of Peachtree, Whitehall, Decatur, Marietta and Line Street. Two decades after the Civil War, though, things changed for Five Points, thanks primarily to the efforts of one man as you will see in this week’s Stories of […]


Pedal Power by Kelly Jordan

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The layers of history

It probably goes without saying that pretty much everything was something before it became what it is today. An examination of any city’s past is an exercise in peeling back the layers of, as the Beatles might have put it, the long and winding road. Because of our city’s particular penchant for casting out the […]

Olympia building at Five Points to be restored to historic grandeur

The historic Olympia building at Five Points is to be restored to its original grandeur, right down to the neon lighting from its days as the showroom for Wormser Hats.

The entire plan for the exterior of the building is based on photographs of the building when it opened soon after the Great Depression, according to Michael Wirsching, with Atlanta-based ASD Inc.

The building is to have a single tenant. Further commercial details were not available from city records and a principal with the owner, Florida-based Encore Real Estate, could not be reached for comment.


Looking in plain sight for Atlanta’s random signs of optimism

A random shoe track on a downtown Atlanta sidewalk turned into a  “spontaneous smiley”—a feat akin to finding the face of Elvis in a piece of toast, but a whole lot easier.

People all over the world (like me) discover, photograph and post spontaneous smileys to social media as a creative challenge to others. It is tailor made for creative thinkers and distracted people in our crowded and gridlocked city. This fun scavenger hunt can be done anywhere, and a handy time-killer when you’re stuck waiting.

Looking for the most basic sign of happiness in ordinary circumstances will shift your mood and mindset. Looking for a smiling face can release positive brain chemicals like dopamine. The scientific term for this pursuit is pareidolia, when a vague and random stimulus is perceived as significant (after all, it was just a footprint…). It is an example of how mindfulness identifies the extraordinary in ordinary life.

Police raids, building price lift veil on business district south of Five Points

A string of narcotics arrests near Five Points last week, plus arrests for several outstanding warrants and the recovery of a stolen handgun, are among the latest examples of the challenges of sprucing up the city’s southern business district.

This section of downtown Atlanta remains a place of competing objectives. The planned billion-dollar redevelopment of the gulch and neighboring area may spark a restoration of Atlanta’s historic urban core, even as an underground economy seems to thrive in the current environment.

The pedigree of one building where drug arrests were made highlights part of the economic tension. The building was purchased in 2009 for a sum higher than may be expected in the recession: 175 percent of the value assigned by Fulton County’s tax assessors.