Darrah Photo is the first tenant in a historic Cartersville building being renovated for shops, loft apartments and maybe a restaurant.
"[Developer] John [Lewis] had wanted us to be a tenant of his for years, and he just never had a building that would work for us," said Kaysi Darrah. "When he purchased this huge shell, he said, 'I know I've got it....'"
Built in 1941 and reportedly once the largest chenille plant in the world, according to Lewis of John S. Lewis Property Management, the old Nantucket building at 100 Cook Street is . He and development partner Dean Lewis, father of Bartow County sole commissioner candidate Tracy Lewis and former state rep and current State Transportation Board rep Jeff Lewis, bought the building, estimated to contain 750,000 bricks, in December 2011.
"We got a real good deal on the property when we bought it because we bought it in the recession, obviously, and by the time everybody failed and needed the money, we got it cheap," John Lewis said, adding that a bank failure had resulted in the FDIC selling the old Bandy 100 building to buyers in New York.
Darrah Photo, a full-service portrait studio with several specialties, relocated from the Bradley Building in downtown Cartersville's Friendship Square. It now occupies about 3,000 square feet in the northwest corner of the 47,000-square-foot solid brick Bandy 100 building, John Lewis added in a phone interview with Cartersville Patch.
"[Lewis] said draw your blue prints, make a custom studio and we couldn't resist," Darrah said. "We built the perfect studio for us and it took about six months of construction, but we're in."
Developers could build up to 25 lofts, but Lewis said apartments are expensive. He and partners have developed seven loft apartments in downtown Cartersville.
"We're just going to slowly develop the whole [Bandy building]. We're looking for a restaurant to put next to Darrah Photo in the northeast corner," he said. "Then, there seems to be a large demand for loft apartments."
Which restaurants would like to see in the old Nantucket building? Tell us in the comments below.
The building off South Tennessee Street is an industrial area included in the city of Cartersville's Urban Redevelopment Plan. With it and incentives, planners and leaders hope to help revitalize industrial areas affected by employer layoffs and business reductions and closings.
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