MOULTRIE, Ga. — The building many refer to as the “Belk Hudson Building” on the square in Downtown Moultrie is returning back to life after 15 years.

Belk Hudson occupied the property located at 9 E. Central Ave. until the mid-1970s when they moved to the Sunset Plaza. In 1998, the last business to occupy the property was Harrell’s Treasure Chest Furniture. The Treasure Chest was owned and operated by Gene and Shirley Harrell. After the Harrells retired and closed the Treasure Chest, the building was donated to the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) Foundation. The foundation envisioned the building as part of a future expansion of ABAC on the Square. After years of planning, it was decided the building would not be needed.

Over time, the property had begun to deteriorate, with a leaking roof and other structural problems. In June of 2017, after negotiations, the ABAC Foundation donated the property to the Moultrie Downtown Development Authority. The DDA is a statutory authority and was one of a number of DDAs created as a mechanism to revitalize and redevelop municipal central business districts throughout Georgia. The Moultrie DDA is one of the organizations involved in a multi-year effort to enhance downtown through various projects.

The Downtown Development Authority obtained funding through the state Department of Community Affairs to stabilize the building including re-roofing it, conducting asbestos abatement, and repairing existing water damage. Currently, the building is going through the asbestos abatement phase and is expected to move on to the re-roofing phase in approximately two weeks.

The Downtown Development Authority is working on a lease with a developer who will construct 8-9 loft apartments on the top floor and remodel for possible retail or restaurant space on the main floor. After completion, this project could bring approximately 20 new residents and 10 or more employees to the downtown area.

If you are  interested in opening a business in the downtown area you are encouraged to contact the City of Moultrie Office of Downtown Economic Development and Public Relations by calling 229-890-5455 or email amy.johnson@moultriega.com, or visit 120 North Main Street.  All potential new businesses will be encouraged to attend an EDGE meeting with the city to help better facilitate the new business process.

Amy Johnson is the director of the City of Moultrie’s Office of Downtown Economic Development.

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