The Georgia Trust

2007 PLACES IN PERIL: HAND TRADING COMPANY BUILDING

grand-scale store deteriorating with time

The Story: Inspired by Chicago’s Marshall Field Department Store, Mr. J. L. Hand completed the Hand Trading Company Building in 1916. The store sold everything from clothing to groceries to coffins. Four stories tall, over 98,000 square feet of floor space and crowned with a beautiful dome created by an Italian artist, this historic building is unquestionably the centerpiece of downtown Pelham.

Threat: The store closed its doors in 1985 and has remained primarily vacant over the last 20 years. Several businesses currently occupy the first floor, but the building requires immediate attention. The structure is threatened by water leaks and more than 400 windows in need of repair. The dome is slowly deteriorating.

Solution: The Hand Trading Company Building was purchased by The Joint Development Authority of Colquitt, Grady, Mitchell and Thomas Counties in 2003. Since then, the group has received several grants from the OneGeorgia Authority and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. However, fully utilizing a structure of this size in a city of 4,000 citizens requires innovation and more users like the Regional Educational Service Office located on part of the first and second floors. Perfect for retail and office space, additional tenants and creative planning are urgently needed.

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