On July 9th, 2023 in Stockholm Sweden, Sir Elton John performed the final concert of his 53-year career. His farewell tour had spanned five years and grossed $931 million, reported to be the highest-grossing tour of all time. Meanwhile, halfway around the world, a curtain was closing on another part of the superstar’s life. Though he had called his Buckhead condo “home” since 1991, movers were quietly packing up and moving out a staggering volume of art and personal possessions from his nearly 13,000 square foot condo.

According to multiple Park Place residents, the move-out took nearly a month to complete and Sir Elton John has now left the building, Buckhead, and Atlanta for good.

“People always ask me, ‘Why do you have a place in Atlanta?’” John said in a 1998 AJC interview. “It’s because people here have always been that nice to me… I’ve always been welcomed. I feel at home.”

It all started in 1991 when John’s estate in England near Windsor became too full of memories and possessions. He gutted the residence and auctioned off many belongings while on his path to sobriety. In his search for a new home in the United States he found Los Angeles to be overwhelming and New York unsafe, and he fell in love with the Southern charm of Atlanta.

Park Place on Peachtree

Making a splash in Buckhead

Jim Henderson, part of the development team behind the Park Place condo tower, remembers getting a call from the onsite sales agent in 1991 when he was on a sailing trip near Hilton Head: “I have Elton John here wanting to buy a condo,” she told him. The offer was $700,000, but Henderson was firm at his $950,000 asking price. “I eventually settled on $925,000 with his agent in London and by the time we were at closing 30 days later Elton had already decided to buy the unit next door. It was great PR for the building and we sold out the rest of the tower over the next couple of years. He was at a turning point in his life at the time and he ended up being great for the building. The other residents loved him and he treated our staff very well.”

After moving here in 1991 Sir Elton John quickly became ingrained into the Buckhead community and surrounding Atlanta area. He was a frequent visitor of Tower Records, dined at area restaurants (Umi Sushi and the now-shuttered Buckhead Diner were purportedly favorites), became a Braves fan, hosted a collection of his photographs at the High Museum of Art, named a 2004 album “Peachtree Road,” and became a frequent face at social functions throughout Buckhead and the Atlanta area.  

John also commented that his life “in Atlanta is as normal a life as I can lead anywhere in the world,” and later said he is “an Atlanta person through and through.”

Building a unique home

Elton John’s 2-story art gallery in his Buckhead Condo (credit: Architectural Digest)

Over the years, Elton continued to purchase neighboring units to accommodate a vast art collection. Eventually it expanded to include 12,000 + square feet across seven units combined on multiple floors in Park Place. The condo above the intersection of Peachtree Road and West Wesley Rd in the heart of Buckhead is likely to hit the market soon. In a 2016 CBS Sunday Morning interview, viewers got a brief tour of his sprawling condo that was full of artwork and photography collections. The singer was generous with his artwork, loaning it out to the building for display in some common areas and elevator lobbies.

During John’s final Atlanta concert last year, he addressed his semi-hometown crowd about his time in Atlanta.  

“I’ve lived here for 30 years, and I’ve loved every single minute,” the AJC reported. “So I will take you with me in my heart, in my soul, and I’ll never forget you.”

You will fall in love with everything about this charming mid-century home located where Peachtree Heights East, Garden Hills and Peachtree Hills come together! Enjoy an easy stroll to the Duck Pond, Peachtree Hills Park, Garden Hills Pool, shopping and several popular neighborhood restaurants. Just a block away is the new PATH400, with a connection to the Atlanta Beltline in the works! With two finished levels, a cheery enclosed sunroom, and a fabulous outdoor area featuring a flat backyard and large deck overlooking a serene view of the forest and creek at the rear of the yard.

Main Level

The open space features a large yet cozy living room with a vaulted stained wood ceiling, prominent masonry fireplace and adjacent sunroom lined with craftsman-style windows, just perfect for a home office or reading nook.

The updated kitchen has a breakfast bar overlooking the dining area, and custom shelving in the pantry cabinet which maximizes storage space.

Two separate bedrooms rooms were converted to one large primary bedroom with beamed vaulted ceilings, built-in bookshelves, an oversized walk-in closet and access to a private deck. The pretty master bathroom has an enlarged shower and extra storage for linens and grooming products. There is a cozy second bedroom, and full bath recently renovated with a nod to preserving its timeless aesthetic appeal. The covered carport with access adjacent to the kitchen easily accommodates two cars.

Terrace Level

The finished lower level is a wonderful area to entertain with a kitchen/bar, recreation room and access to the oversized deck with built-in seating overlooking the landscaped backyard.   There is a third bedroom and bath, a full laundry, separate work shop, a screened enclosed patio, and an abundance of extra storage space. A separate entrance gives this level great potential as a possible rental space.

Neighborhood

Homes on Springdale Drive rarely become available for sale, especially move-in ready gems with yard space! The nearby Garden Hills Pool has a large play field with picnic areas, recreation center, and of course a swimming pool! Garden Hills Elementary School and Atlanta International School, Peachtree Road Farmer’s Market, and The Peachtree Battle Shopping Center are just minutes away.

Peachtree Heights East

Since its development began in the early 1900s, Peachtree Heights East has maintained a perfectly charming atmosphere that harkens back to its founding days. Duck Pond Park in the center of Peachtree Heights East is the neighborhood’s own storybook setting admired by all who visit. This active neighborhood supports several groups to enhance the community: the Peachtree Heights East Neighborhood Association operates a security patrol and offers member-discounts for Park (Duck Pond) rentals, while the Ladies of the Lake (LOL) Garden Club welcomes new residents and runs neighborhood social events.

This lovely neighborhood also provides easy access to Peachtree Road, and a short walk to the great restaurants and parks in Peachtree Hills.

Garden Hills

This quaint historic Buckhead neighborhood was founded in 1925 as a country club community, so it’s no surprise that this is where families enjoy the simple but fun amenities and monthly social events. You can find more information on the Garden Hills website. The architecture ranges from quaint cottages to large 3-story, newer construction. The unofficial heart of the neighborhood is the Garden Hills Pool and Rec Center, first built in the 1930’s. Leased from the city and run by the neighborhood, it includes a ball field, playground, community center and pool house. Many residents purchase memberships but guests can swim on a daily basis as well. The pool is home to the Cool Sharks Swim and Dive Team where neighborhood kids compete all around metro Atlanta.

Peachtree Hills

Peachtree Hills is one of Buckhead’s coziest neighborhoods. It’s located just east of Peachtree Road between Peachtree Creek on the south and Lindbergh Drive on the north. This popular Buckhead neighborhood was established in 1912 between what was then the village of Buckhead and the city of Atlanta. As a result, there are a number of shops and restaurants at the nearby intersection of Peachtree Hills Avenue, Peachtree Road and Kings Circle. This shopping strip, along with dining staples tucked away in the heart of the neighborhood, the Treehouse Restaurant, J. Christopher’s, and Paul’s Restaurant, are popular destinations for an enjoyable evening with friends or brunch on a warm sunny Sunday afternoon.

Atlanta Police Department Deputy Chief Andrew Senzer, the outgoing commander of Buckhead’s Zone 2 precinct. Credit: APD

Buckhead’s Atlanta Police Department precinct is seeing a changing of the guard as its current commander has received a promotion to deputy chief.

Andrew Senzer, who has led the Zone 2 precinct since November 2019 with the rank of major, will head APD’s Strategy and Special Projects Division, he announced at an April 7 meeting of the Buckhead Public Safety Task Force.

Major Ailen Mitchell, who has served as Senzer’s assistant since 2020, will be the new Zone 2 commander, Deputy Chief Timothy Peek said in the meeting.

The transition will happen on April 14, according to APD. The current head of the Strategy and Special Projects Division, Deputy Chief Darin Schierbaum, is being promoted to the vacant position of assistant chief of police.

Senzer was Buckhead’s police commander through the historic COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying crime spike, including the May 2020 rioting and looting in local business areas that spun out of Black Lives Matter protests about the Minneapolis police murder of George Floyd.

He also led through the beginning of the Buckhead cityhood movement that based itself on crime concerns. While crime spiked, Senzer took a zero-tolerance approach and Buckhead continues to have the city’s lowest crime rate.

“It really has been an honor to serve as the commander of Zone 2,” Senzer said in the task force meeting. “In my 26 years [in policing], this has probably been the most challenging assignment I’ve had.”

Atlanta Police Department Major Ailen Mitchell, the new Zone 2 commander. Credit: APD

He said his new role will be “a little behind the scenes” but that he will “not be a stranger” in Buckhead.

Peek said APD is “ecstatic” about Senzer taking on the deputy chief role.

Mitchell, according to his APD biography, has been with the department since 2006. He previously commanded the SWAT team and, like Senzer, once served on the Red Dog unit, an anti-drug squad disbanded in 2011 after controversial incidents like an illegal raid on the Atlanta Eagle gay bar. Among his other work was the Gang Unit and the Auto Theft Task Force.

Mitchell became Zone 2’s Criminal Investigations Unit commander in 2018 and its assistant commander in 2020.

Zone 2 is headquartered at 3120 Maple Drive in Buckhead Village.

Update: This story has been updated with information from APD about the transition.

Buckhead residents Ed Garcia and Nathan Dean share a passion for photography, but they each took a lifetime to find it. Their exhibition, “Two Old Guys With Cameras” will be on display at the Buckhead Library from April 2 through May 29, 2022, with an opening reception on April 9. The exhibition showcases the photographers’ differing approaches to photographing people. In simplest terms, Nathan says, “I shoot street portraits. [Ed] shoots human interactions.”

Ed Garcia

Garcia says he’s not pushing 93, but, “maybe just leaning up against it.” Ed had a successful career as a psychotherapist, including a position as Co-director of Training at the Institute for Rational Emotive Therapy in New York City. He and his wife visited over 40 countries, and Ed would record their travels with his camera. Ed didn’t put much thought into the craft of it, and he says, “I had taken photographs, but I never thought that what I took was photography. I was just taking pictures.”

When he retired, Ed took up a unique form of artistic expression. Some folks might take a painting class or take up pottery, but Ed began to create metal sculptures! The largest example of his work is a 15-foot 5,000-pound piece called Pathways to Wisdom that is installed on the Kennesaw State University campus. Metal work became too difficult as Ed got older, so he began to explore other creative outlets. Nathan Dean saw promise in Ed’s photographs and encouraged him to pursue his photography more seriously.

Nathan Dean

Nathan approaches photography from a completely different angle. He loved making photographs from a young age, and he always had a, “good eye.” Nathan found less time for his hobby as he got older and entered the workforce. His career as a physicist, university professor, dean, and vice president left little time for photography. Like Ed, Nathan would take photographs on his travels, but didn’t pursue any serious photography.

Nathan’s daughter wanted to give him a present when he retired. She is an artist, and she thought it would be nice if the two of them could attend a photography workshop together. That week changed everything for Nathan. He began to understand what it meant to have a “good eye,” and he started his serious study of photography. Nathan dove into the technical concepts of photography and editing, and eventually began teaching photography himself. At this point, Nathan’s photographs have been featured in numerous exhibitions around the country.

Working Together

Ed gives a lot of credit to Nathan for inspiring his photography. He told me, “Nathan was able to say, ‘wait a minute, this composition is great.’ And ‘look at the expression of that kid.’ All of a sudden I started learning from him that maybe, unconsciously I was able to do these kinds of things.” I think those of us who attend the “Two Old Guys With Cameras” exhibition are lucky that Ed and Nathan met and became friends. Their different styles and strengths have influenced each other’s work, and combined to create a beautiful collection of images.

Springtime in Buckhead highlights some of our favorite parts of the community. Our staff has long celebrated the green spaces and outdoor activities that make Buckhead such a unique collection of neighborhoods. As the warm weather encourages us to get out and explore with family and friends, we are delighted to share our top 5 favorite places to enjoy springtime in Buckhead.

Atlanta Memorial Park and Bobby Jones Golf Course

Bobby Jones Golf Course has been a Buckhead staple since 1932. The course features two 9-hole courses, each with multiple tees and double greens. The different tee and pin combinations provide golfers a unique experience each time they play.

The Murray Golf House at Bobby Jones Golf Course is more than just a clubhouse. It is home to the Ed Hoard Golf Shop, Boone’s Restaurant, and the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame. Don’t miss the state-of-the-art Grand Slam Golf Academy to take your game to the next level!

Atlanta Memorial Park has a lot to offer non-golfers as well. The Bitsy Grant Tennis Center boasts the largest grass-roots tennis organization in the country. Atlanta Memorial Park winds along the southern bank of Peachtree Creek on the west side of Northside Drive. You’ll find lots of picnic tables near the large playground, and plenty of room to play and explore along the creek.

The Northwest Beltline Connector trail connects Atlanta Memorial Park to Tanyard Creek Park and Ardmore Park, where it intersects with the Atlanta Beltline Trail.

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area- East Palisades

The East Palisades section of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area provides Buckhead residents with a truly unique hiking experience without driving out of town. The Indian Trail parking lot is just 15 minutes from the Buckhead Village District!

East Palisades Trail. Photo by Rob Knight

The East Palisades includes more than 10 miles of hiking trails along the bluffs and shoals on the Chattahoochee River. Highlights of the trail system include an overlook deck with panoramic views of the river, and ruins of riverside settlements. If you take the trail far enough north along the river you will find the famous bamboo forest.

The trails along the river are generally easy, but you will find some fairly strenuous climbs between the river’s edge and the top of the bluffs. The Indian Creek parking lot is at the top of the bluffs, so you will be working your way down to the river from there.

The Whitewater Creek parking lot is on the river. You can go on short hikes along the river from here without much climbing, but you can also access the entire trail system if you like. The Indian Creek parking lot can get crazy on warm weekend days, so keep the White Water Creek parking lot in mind as an alternate.

Chastain Park

Chastain Park is a 260+ acre park with something for everyone. The walking trails around the park include a 3.4 mile loop and a 2.7 mile loop, and they are usually busy with locals exercising, chatting, and enjoying the neighborhood. The trails and the Chastain Park playground are just the beginning of the activities at the park.

Northside Youth Organization (NYO) operates basketball, baseball, softball, and football leagues at the park. The Chastain Park Tennis Center offers individual and league play. The North Fulton Golf Course is a public course that occupies much of the park. Chastain Arts Center provides classes, summer camps, and gallery space to Buckhead’s aspiring artists.

Chastain Horse Park is a unique community resource. The horse park offers horse boarding, riding lessons, and summer camps. Therapeutic riding and Hippotherapy programs provide multiple equine-assisted activities for a variety of physical and speech-pathology therapy.

Spring is the beginning of the concert series at Chastain Park Amphitheater. Music lovers are treated to 40-45 concerts between April and October each year.

PATH400

PATH400 has quickly become an integral part of Buckhead’s daily life. The path is a great way to get some exercise and explore the community without sitting in traffic. You’ll find lots of art installations along the path, and you will be treated to unique skyline views and serene wooded sections along the way.

Wetland along PATH400. Photo by Rob Knight

The current route of PATH400 begins at Peidmont Rd. and Adina Dr. at the south end, and follows GA400 to Wieuca Rd. The southern end includes an easy connection to the South Fork Trail at the Confluence Bridge, and a future connection to the Atlanta Beltline at Piedmont Rd. The next phase of the Path will continue north from Wieuca to Mountain Way Common, and then continue north to meet the Sandy Springs path system.

The newest section of PATH400 stretches from Miami Circle to the Gordon Bynum Pedestrian Bridge at Lenox Square. This section features a large mural by local artist, Jonesy, and a wetland area that is home to wildlife that you would probably not expect to see along GA400! If you haven’t explored PATH400 in a while, you will probably be pleasantly surprised when you get out on the path this spring.

The Duck Pond

If soaking up the springtime sunshine next to a picturesque duck pond is more your speed, then the Duck Pond is for you. This serene 7.5 acre park is nestled within the Peachtree Heights East neighborhood, just a few blocks from Peachtree Road. Bring a picnic lunch and some good friends for the best results.

The Duck Pond is home to Muscovy Ducks. Photo by Rob Knight

The pond is definitely the main attraction of the park. The park is named for the distinct Muscovy Ducks who inhabit the pond, and you will find Canadian geese and other visiting ducks depending on what time of year you visit. Look for turtles sunning themselves on sunny days as well. The meandering path around the pond  provides a nice walk, as well as access to the numerous fields that are perfect for picnicking. The flock of ducks that lives in the park has seen reduced numbers over the past few years. A few concerned residents informed us that visitors feeding the ducks inappropriate food (like bread) has been detrimental to the flock. Peachtree Heights East residents are happy that visitors love their little park, but they ask that you respect the rules when you visit. That means no fishing, no grilling, and please don’t feed the ducks.

The Peachtree Road Farmers Market returns to the Cathedral of Saint Phillip this Saturday for its 16th season. Buckhead’s neighborhood farmers market boasts over 50 vendors each week, all of which are Certified Naturally Grown or Certified Organic, along with live music and special events. The PRFM is a producer-only market. That means each product is grown, raised, or made by the seller. Last year The PRFM was voted #4 in the country in USA Today’s reader’s poll.

Executive Director Nancy Qarmout sent Buckhead.com these exciting updates for the 2022 season:

The Market is open 8:30-noon each Saturday from March 5 through December 17, 2022. The Cathedral of Saint Phillip is located at 2744 Peachtree Road, NW Atlanta, 30305. Organizers encourage cashless payments like Venmo and Cash App. Dogs are welcome at the market as long as they mind their manners and they’re kept on a leash.

The PRFM is a great opportunity to get out and mingle as the days are getting warmer. Come out on Saturday morning and support your local farmers, growers, and makers! Visit the Peachtree Road Farmers Market website for a current list of vendors.

Habersham Way may very well be the best location in all of Buckhead! This quiet street runs between Habersham Rd and Andrews Drive in the elegant Peachtree Heights West neighborhood. From here, you can walk to the Peachtree Road Farmer’s Market , or enjoy a night out in Buckhead Village, which is only 3 minutes away.

A winding drive leads up to this classically-styled hilltop ranch home where you will find a large motor court and four garages. Two garages are connected to the home, while a recently constructed two car detached garage provides climate-controlled storage for additional cars or other collectible toys.

The flat lawn in the back provides  a secluded space for outdoor recreation. The backyard features a pool and pool cabana with a bathroom and a summer kitchen! Stone patios invite outdoor living and entertaining. The one-acre lot extends further up a terraced hill with charming stone walls providing multiple terraces. These sunny flat terraces may be used for everything from flower or vegetable gardens to a bocce ball court…whatever you want!

Main Level

Stately columns frame the brick front porch. The entry foyer features stone tile flooring and easy access to the formal living room, family room, and the bedroom wing. Large windows and a handsome fireplace help the living room feel bright and comfortable. A large cased opening leads into the formal dining room and the kitchen beyond.

The kitchen is anchored by a generous central island with a gas cook-top. Custom white cabinetry surrounds the space, including built-in storage in the breakfast area. Double ovens, a large pantry, patio access, and a home management desk round out the efficient kitchen layout.

Between the kitchen and the attached 2-car garage are a large private home office, a half bath, and combination laundry and mudroom.

A family room addition with vaulted ceilings features dramatic views of the backyard and patio. A dramatic monolithic stone fireplace is flanked by built-in bookcases, while double doors provide access to the outdoor spaces.

Bedrooms

The bedrooms are all situated along a quiet hallway on the left side of the home. Each of the three bedrooms includes custom built-ins and an ensuite full bath. The primary bedroom suite has two walls of built-in drawers and clothing storage, a separate vanity area, and a bath featuring a stone-tiled shower and double vanity.

The two additional bedrooms have built-in desks in addition to clothing storage and generous attached full baths.

The professionally waterproofed and clean basement level provides excellent storage. A full set of stairs leads to the upper attic level, allowing for easy expansion or a full 2nd floor if needed!

Peachtree Heights West Neighborhood

For generations Peachtree Heights West has been a choice neighborhood for the long-time Buckhead residents. These approximately 550 homes are some of Buckhead’s finest. Many streets have a timeless, almost-perfect feel. The homes in Peachtree Heights West are a treasure trove of historic architecture and Southern charm, nearly every home is worthy of a magazine cover.