Big doings in the Hub City homepage title card. Accessed 11/09/2012

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, 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:

The America (Ross) Building is the white structure on the left side of image. Source Hub City National Register Historic District Photo by Jody Cook, MDAH, Spring 1980. Retrieved 11/09/12 from Mississippi Historic Resources Inventory (HRI) Database.

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 big time 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.

The Carter Building is the structure on the right side of the image. Source Hub City National Register Historic District. Photo by Jody Cook, MDAH, Spring 1980. Retrieved 11/09/12 from Mississippi Historic Resources Inventory (HRI) Database.

The Carter Building. Source Hub City National Register Historic District. Photo by Jody Cook, MDAH, Spring 1980. Retrieved 11/09/12 from Mississippi Historic Resources Inventory (HRI) Database.

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.

From Carter & Ross Buildings. Hattiesburg, Miss. Sysid 92098. Scanned as tiff in 2008/04/16 by MDAH. Credit: Courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Categories: Hattiesburg, Historic Preservation, Renovation Projects

11 replies

  1. I should like to live in one of those lofts, but the daily commute from Hattiesburg would probably get old after a few years.


  2. If you follow me at @the_diva777 on Twitter, I post photos of the Carter Building pretty often from my bird’s eye view on the 5th floor of the parking garage. I’m angling for a tour of the inside from the owners to get photos. I know the trim carpenter for both buildings and he said they’re not even supposed to talk to people on the street about it. I’m unsure what all the secrecy is about but it makes me more nosy. Word on the street from the owner of Southern Fried Comics is that there will be a new parking garage for the lots built on the back side of the American Building. They’re not doing much externally on the American right now but windows and partitions are going up on the Carter.


    • Thank you for sharing your photos. What a view! I can understand why they might not want workers talking about the projects. If aspects (particularly financial & acquisition) of the project are not finalized the developers don’t want any gossip. The city of Gulfport had a problem caused by this several years ago. They were going to build a fire station and had it all designed, ready to go, but the city hadn’t bought all the land needed. When the owner of the land caught wind of this he raised his price considerably.


  3. both my father and uncle had offices in the carter building for over 40 years and it is nice to see the buildings renovated—–but there is a “catch” to everything——- the train blockages of which the MDOT and the city of Hattiesburg refuse to address as well as the train noise are going to make this an unhappy situation for many new tenants !


    • I agree that traffic at those crossings will not get any better if nothing is done, especially with more people coming downtown. The 24 hour noise and traffic are one of the hallmarks of urban living. When I first moved by the train tracks I used to hear the train all the time, but one becomes accustom and I don’t really notice it anymore. Did your father and uncle ever mention problems with the train? I can only imagine that train traffic has decreased.


      • The problem with the Hattiesburg train situation is that there are many freight trains and coal trains which either have to change tracks in downtown or unload product at a building in the industrial park which involves a lot of backing up, rolling forward and sitting still. I’ve been stuck behind a stopped train for literally 45 minutes before. It usually isn’t that bad, usually 20 minutes at the most but, if you’ve got a job on the other side of train, that is bad. Amtrak I don’t mind in the least. They zip through.


        • the law states a train cannot block an intersecction over 5 minutes but the city refuses to give a ” ticket ” to the trains—-one policeman back in the 1970’s would—capt Buford Odom as he lived across the tracks and had to endure all that we do today ! The MDOT told me that they would ticket the trains but the office has to come from jones county to do it. The MDOT also explained to me that they were not concerned over blockage of emergency vehicles as ” that’s Hattiexburg’s problem” ( the city took the million dollars for the closings)


      • train traffic has INCREASED with NAFTA and the CN ( canadian national)—our house burned and a co worker was killed as trains blocked emergency vehicles in separate events in my life, hence my preoccupation with the lack of response to the situation ( look in meridian at the number of overpasses and underpasses, while H’burg took a million dollars to close our intersections and runs empty buses and build a bicycle lane with the money——-once again the citizen taxpayers come last !


        • You are absolutely correct that train traffic has increased and surprisingly (to me) has been on the rise since 1960. I guess my thought that rail traffic has decreased is related to passenger traffic, having dropped from 46 billion passenger miles in 1920 to less than 15 billion in 2000.



  1. Photo Update of the Hub City Lofts « Preservation in Mississippi

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: