West Midtown, also known as Westside, is an urban neighborhood located in Atlanta, Georgia. Once largely industrial, West Midtown is now the location of urban lofts, art galleries, live music venues, retail and restaurants.
Much of Atlanta’s industrial and Civil War history transpired West Midtown. Several buildings still in use today are located next to the historic Norfolk Southern rail lines General Sherman used when he invaded Atlanta in 1864. In 1881, the International Cotton Exposition was held at the north end of the corridor, for which the Exposition Cotton Mills were built. Mule-pulled trolleys brought workers starting in 1882, and these became electrified in 1894.
Blandtown, located along Huff Road, was one of the first black settlements around Atlanta after the Civil War. The community went into decline in the 1950s, such that by the 1990s, the once-residential neighborhood was rezoned to strictly industrial usage. Also on Huff Road was the Huff House; as of its demolition in 1954, it was the oldest house standing in the city.
The Marietta Street corridor continued as an industrial and warehouse area, though starting in the 1960s, the commercial strip along Marietta Street suffered with suburbanization. In the 1990s, several adaptive reuse projects were initiated (Hasting’s Seed Company, The Carriage Works, King Plow Arts Center, and the Allied Warehouse), signaling the renaissance of the area.
Once a largely abandoned industrial area, West Midtown has seen large amounts of gentrification and infill, with an eclectic mix of new lofts, restaurants, shops, art galleries, salons and professional firms. However, the loft-style industrial feel of the neighborhood has been retained, as most of the new
developments are restorations of once-neglected factories or warehouses that date back to the 1880s. West Midtown has also become a popular location for the offices of high-tech companies seeking the open floor plans and loft office space, including the Atlanta offices of Facebook, located at Brickworks.
West Midtown is a popular stop for food lovers due to the fact that some of Atlanta’s trendiest high-end restaurants are located in the district. Many of West Midtown’s dining establishments have garnered national attention and favor with local foodies such as Bacchanalia, Abattoir, Miller Union, Bocado, and The Optimist, chef Ford Fry’s seafood restaurant. In 2012, the Atlanta Food Truck Park opened in West Midtown at Howell Mill Road’s intersection with I-75.
West Midtown’s retail options, which includes Sid Mashburn, Ann Mashburn, Toscano & Sons Italian Market, Room & Board, Whipstitch Fabrics, Redefined Home, The Gear Revival, Anthropologie, Hop City Craft Beer and Wine, Wired and Fired, Lululemon Athletica, Verde Home and Free People, make the area a regional shopping destination. Huff Road forms a ribbon of wholesale and retail home furnishings stores in addition to residential complexes and restaurants.