Canton Mayor Bill Grant gave an update on the historic Jones Building in downtown Canton during his State of the City address on Feb. 11, saying a bright future lies ahead for the almost century and a half old building.

“This spring, we will see requests, qualifications, and proposals through a real estate advisor to redevelop the interior of the Jones Building for exciting new commercial and/or residential opportunities,” Grant said.

City Manager Billy Peppers expanded on the mayor’s statement, saying that Canton’s Downtown Development Authority has a real estate advisory firm that is working on a request that will allow interested parties to provide information on what they would propose to do as it relates to the purchase or long term lease of the space for private use.

“This request for qualifications is supposed to go out sometime this week, with these requests being due back to the Downtown Development Authority by April 1,” Peppers said. “Once they are received, the DDA will determine which ones of those to move forward with in a process to request a full proposal. Basically the city is selling or leasing the asset through the DDA.”

Peppers said the request from the DDA will outline what the city would like to see the building used for, which includes active uses on the ground floor, mixed use, and the building should stay in its historic character from the exterior. The redevelopment of the interior of the building would be determined by the private party who owns it, or is leasing it.

Work to restore the building began in October of 2017, with the goal of redeveloping the building in two phases. The first phase, which was completed in 2019, addressed the buildings’ structure by replacing the roof, cleaning the facade, and repairing and/or replacing windows, as well as masonry and keeping historic aspects of the commercial storefront design intact. Dropped ceilings and non-load bearing interior walls were removed, exposing joists and about 45 beams. The second phase is the operational renovation.

The building first opened its doors as Jones Mercantile in 1879 as a general goods store selling everything from hardware, sundries, food, furniture, toys, and caskets. It was then purchased by Cherokee County in the late 1980s for additional administrative office space, before Canton took ownership of it in 2017, starting plans for its revitalization.

The Jones Building is located at 130 E. Main St.

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