Right now two major adaptive reuse projects are underway in Hattiesburg. Two “skyscrapers,” the Carter & Ross buildings are being converted into loft apartment and retail space. I don’t think downtown Hattiesburg has had this much growth since these buildings were new 100 years ago. As reported in the September 10th news round up by JR Gordon, the Hub City Lofts projects look to be continuing under full steam. If you click this link you can watch an interview about the projects with Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association President and MDAH Board Member Web Heidelberg. The now defunct www.rossbuilding.com, accessible through the internet wayback machine has plenty of photographs and also plans of the building. One of the great things I’ve heard about this project is that the cornices will be restored to the buildings!
According to the 1980 National Register Hub City Historic District Nomination:
Ross Building(now the America Building), 207 East Front St. Commercial vernacular. Five-story corner building four-by-six-bay. Round-arch corner entrances, string courses above first and fourth floors, cast-iron cornice with dentils, pilaster capitals composed of geometric Prairie style motifs . 1907.
I learned from the MDAH HRI Database that the Ross Building was designed by Hattiesburg’s first architect Robert E. Lee. The Carter Building is credited to our old friend R. H. Hunt and is also included in the Hub City National Register District Nomination.
Carter Building, 501- 509 Main St . Commercial vernacular. Six-story brick building, seven-by-five-bay at focal corner in district . Cornice supported by pilasters at ground floor, upper bays contain paired double-hung windows and are framed by pilasters with Prairie School-style decoration at the capitals . Top story emphasized by wide string course and tall parapet. Ca . 1910.
The fact that these buildings are in a National Register District made them eligible for State and Federal Historic Rehabilitation tax incentives. The historic tax credits programs for the Gulf Opportunity Zone or “Go Zone”(which is fun to say) currently are totaling 51%, and no doubt making this project a reality. You can follow the building progress on the Hub City Lofts facebook page.
This is a great win for the the City of Hattiesburg and its denizens to bring these two long empty buildings back into use. I hope to take a trip to Hattiesburg soon to share some progress photos of these projects.