Developer Richard Peters bought up 405 acres in the early 1880s with the idea of building a neighborhood and operating a streetcar line to it. Peters’ son Edward built the showy Queen Anne-style home at the corner of Piedmont and Ponce de Leon in 1883; the house has been a restaurant, appropriately named The Mansion, since 1973.
Building in Midtown continued for nearly 50 years, and there is a commensurate range in architecture, from simple bungalows to fine Victorian mansions. But after World War II Midtown lost many residents to the suburbs and some homes were converted to apartments and boardinghouses. In the late `60s and early `70s, Midtown went hippie in a big way; conservative people shunned the area and neighboring Piedmont Park, which was turning a corner. Its solidly built homes, tree-lined streets, and convenient location convinced adventurous buyers of the area’s underlying value. Gays, singles, and yuppie couples were drawn by Midtown’s tolerance and urban charm and settled there by the thousands, many as homeowners who greatly improved their properties.
The recent rush to escape grueling daily commutes has made Midtown one of the city’s hottest real estate markets. Empty office buildings, old storefronts, and an abandoned hotel, the Biltmore, have been refurbished as luxury condominiums. Midtown home prices run the gamut from $200,000 to over $1 million.
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