Realtors, investors tour downtown Hub City Properties

September 27, 2016

Story originally posted by Hattiesburg American

After a handful of commercial properties recently became available in downtown Hattiesburg, area officials got together to brainstorm possible ways to bring business attention back to the area.

The result: the Downtown Possibilities Tour, which on Monday offered 33 real estate agents and investors an inside look at six available spaces in some of downtown’s most well-known locations.

“We’re trying to show retail spaces, restaurant spaces, office spaces that are move-in ready or very close to move-in ready,” said Andrea Saffle, executive director of the Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association. “One of my main goals this year is to try and really have an active recruitment program, trying to get businesses to move back downtown.

“It’s about having relationships with the (Area Development Partnership),, VisitHattiesburg and all the different organizations that are here, and getting them all moving in the same direction. They’re already doing great things, so (we’re trying) to get them to do those things downtown. So I’m hoping to at least generate the conversation about people looking downtown.”

The event, which was held by the ADP and Mississippi Power on behalf of HHDA, offered prospective tenants tours of the former Vicki’s on Walnut, commercial spots in the Carter Building, The Little Gallery, the former Weekender Downtown, the former Click Boutique, and the Aultman Tyner Building.

“What we want to do is revitalize the downtown area,” said Daniel Jayroe, community development manager at the ADP. “The idea of a downtown properties tour came up at one of our economic restructuring committee meetings, so we decided it would be the perfect segue into getting our Realtors involved with the downtown community and spaces that are ready to be sold downtown.

“And this is a really good turnout for a downtown properties tour. Some other towns similar to our size have done this, (with) Pascagoula being one. They had about the same amount of people, so we’re very happy with the turnout.”

The group began the day with a tour at Vicki’s on Walnut, where attendees got a look at the patio, dining room and kitchen of the restaurant before boarding the downtown trolley for the other sites. While at the various stops, participants could gather information such as the cost of rent, square footage of the spaces, available amenities and possible uses for the sites.

“It’s a great marketing tool for us to see first-hand,” said Hattiesburg Realtor Andy Stetelman, who took part in the tour. “A lot of people are just going to the internet and finding their way around the various markets, without actually feeling it and tasting it.

“So we get a great feel, by tour, of what’s going on out here. And this is a place that not everybody comes every day, so it’s great exposure.”

“With any spaces downtown, the key is finding the right fit – finding somebody who understands starting a business and the challenges of having a business downtown,” she said. “It takes just a little bit more effort.

“There’s definitely a market down here – you can go any day to Gratefull Soul or to The Porter, and there’s people there and lines. So (the owners), they’ve had a lot of people call, and there’s interest in (these spaces). It’s just actually getting some movement on it.”

Stetelman, for one, is excited to see and hear about the possibilities that any of the available spaces may bring.

“We constantly work with folks looking to come to the area,” he said. “Anything that brings action here helps everybody, from here all the way to west Hattiesburg.”

At a glance 

Available downtown properties

  • 115 Walnut St. (former Vicki’s on Walnut). All equipment included; use of private Walnut Room negotiable
  • 501 N. Main St. (Carter Building), three spaces available
  • 117 E. Front St. (The Little Gallery), 725 square feet
  • 207 E. Front St. (former Weekender location), 1,500 square feet
  • 138 E. Front St. (former Click Boutique), 1,600 square feet. Live/work design, full kitchen, full bath, retail space
  • 310 Hemphill St. (Aultman Tyner Building), 10,000-15,000 square feet. Multi-office and reception areas, two conference rooms, library

For more information on available properties, contact HHDA executive director Andrea Saffle at (601) 606-9921 or