In the northern part of the city of Atlanta, Georgia lies Buckhead, one of the city’s most commercially successful districts—the third largest, in fact. Buckhead offers visitors and residents alike an abundance of options for fine dining and shopping, with a plethora of shops and restaurants from which to choose. Benefiting from a prime location, the district of Buckhead has undergone great changes since its modest start in the nineteenth century. The area that would one day serve as the hub of Piedmont and Peachtree roads was bought by Henry Irby in 1838 for $650, for a total of 202 ½ acres of land. Today, $10,000,000 per acre is the asking price for that parcel of land, bought so long ago by Henry Irby. Although he wasn’t the first to own the land, he established a general store and tavern at the northwest corner of the intersection, which began the town of Irbyville at the spot.
The name of Irbyville wouldn’t last, however, and the townspeople preferred the nickname “Buckhead” to it and it would remain as such until the 1890s, when it was briefly called Atlanta Heights. The Buckhead name originated, it is said, from Irby placing the head of a large deer which he had slain in the center of the growing town, fully on display for all of the town. A 2011 Gadberry Group study listed Buckhead’s western zip code (30327) as the second wealthiest zip code in the South, far from its rustic beginnings.
Weathering the Great Depression, many Tudor and Georgian style mansions were still being built at that time, a testament to the wealth to be found there. One of the largest homes to be constructed in the area of Peachtree Road was the property of prominent attorney Henry Aaron Alexander. The stately mansion measured roughly 15000-square-feet in size and contained more than 30 rooms and 13 bathrooms but would eventually be demolished to make space for the building of Phipps Plaza Mall. The area had offered the more wealthy of the city’s residents a sylvan escape from the city during that time but after the location was annexed by Atlanta in 1952, things had indeed begun to change.
Malls played a prime role in the changing commercial landscape of the area and more large estates would be abandoned for their construction. At the height of the malls’ popularity, well-known designers were tasked with their building, such as the hiring of modernist architect Joe Amisano to work on the Lenox Square Mall in 1959. This was one of the first shopping malls in the nation and the largest shopping center in the Southeastern United States at the time.
Buckhead had gained a solid reputation for great shopping and business opportunities by the 1980s. Buckhead also was raising its profile in regard to its nightlife, possessing the largest concentration of bars and clubs in Atlanta for the time. Buckhead has retained its reputation for shopping by maintaining the highest grouping of upscale boutiques in the nation. These shopping destinations are centered at the intersections of Lenox, Peachtree and Piedmont Roads, spread mostly from Lenox Square to Phipps Plaza. The district boasts of more than 1500 retail units, drawing several billions of dollars spent annually to the area, in addition to the revenue brought in by the malls.
Nearly as plentiful is the area’s residential market, drawing in investors and property owners alike to the district. The district of Buckhead overflows with expensive condominiums, wealthy estates and high-end apartments. The St. Regis Residences, known by some as “the king of all Buckhead condos,” is a fine example of the later variety. The St. Regis is a landmark 151-room hotel and home to 53 private residences, all inspired by the classic Beaux Arts design of the St. Regis in New York.
99 East Andrews is just one of the many selections those looking for property can find along Peachtree Street, located near the similarly named Andrews Entertainment District and offering townhome and single-family residences. As with other luxury apartments in the area, Atlanta’s amenities are featured prominently, as well as private perks such as the concierge service provided by The Sutton Buckhead, which provide guests and residents with a superior stay. It is no wonder, then, that condo prices tend to start at $300,000 but can range up to $5million.
Henry Irby should be commended on seeing the value of the land that he purchased so long ago, but who knows if his expectations could have ever matched the present reality. Buckhead has become one of the hottest commercial and residential markets in the Southern United States, prized for its shopping and loved for its renown as a place where people want to be.