In 2013, local developers Daniel Jussely and Rob Tatum transformed the America and Carter buildings in downtown Hattiesburg into new living and retail space known as the Hub City Lofts, in an effort to help boost the revitalization of that area.
With that venture having proved successful, Jussely and Tatum are now setting sights on their second project of that nature: the Hub City Lofts 2, which will see the Davidson Building, the Forrest Towers building and the Kress Building revamped into commercial space on the bottom and apartments on top. Jussely and Tatum purchased the three buildings, which are currently vacant, from Regions Bank a few years ago, which then rented the buildings back to the developers when the bank’s employees moved into a new location.
“We had the first Hub City Lofts, which has done very well with apartments; there’s a high demand for apartments in downtown,” Jussely said. “Obviously, we had an opportunity to take three blighted buildings and turn them into something productive that’ll also help downtown.
“We’re also going through the National Park Service and the Department of Archives and History, so we’ll restore these to their historic duty. Which really, Forrest Towers and the Kress Building won’t really change, but we’ll take Davidson back to its original design, back to when it was built.”
The Davidson Building, which is three stories high, is located on Front Street.
The Forrest Towers building at 215 Forrest Street is nine stories tall; it was built in 1929 and renovated in 1993. It formerly housed the Forrest Hotel, which featured 150 rooms, and was the tallest building in Hattiesburg until 1970 when the Johnson Science Tower was constructed at the University of Southern Mississippi.
The three-story-plus-penthouse Kress Building is located at 500 North Main Street. The building, which was built in 1940 and renovated in 1983, offers 32,459 square feet of space.
When the Hub City Lofts 2 project is completed – which is expected to take approximately 18 months – the three buildings will offer a total of 92 apartments in addition to the retail space.
“(As far as retail space), we’re open to anything,” Jussely said. “We’ve got some tenants – I can’t really discuss who they are – but we do have a lot of available space over at Forrest Towers.”
Jeffrey George, who serves as Ward 1 Councilman and vice president for Hattiesburg City Council, said he thinks the Hub City Lofts 2 project will be a boost for downtown.
“I’m very excited to see the Hub City Lofts 2 project begin,” he said. “I really think that the addition of that number of residential units in downtown Hattiesburg is really going to create the core base of people needed in downtown to help our business community – and really all of downtown – thrive more than it already is.”