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Day Companies Buys Burned Gay Street Building, Plans Renovations

Walker Evans Walker Evans Day Companies Buys Burned Gay Street Building, Plans RenovationsPhoto by Walker Evans.
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The white four-story building at the southeast corner of Gay and High Streets has sat quiet this summer. After a devastating fire broke out in the basement of the building on April 15th, the three retail businesses located within (the upper floors were all vacant) were destroyed and the building has sat empty ever since.

That’s about to change though, as the building has new owners — The Day Companies — who have some ambitious plans to renovate the entire 17,000 square foot building.

“Basically, the lead investor in Atlanta was ale to get a buyer’s insurance claim, which meant he could remodel the building or sell it and keep the claim, and I advised him to sell it,” stated Tom Fortin, a partner with Milan High Street LLC, the former owner of the building. “My involvement now is to continue to help the new owners turn the building into what it could have always become.”

The Day Companies own and/or manage multiple buildings in the Gay Street area, which contain a mix of retail, office and residential tenants. A similar plan is being drafted for the building, though no formal plans and permits have been filed yet.

“Most of the space in the building wasn’t in a leasable condition on the upper floors,” explained Ricky Day, Principal at The Day Companies.  “We’ll tear everything out and start over. We hope to have a few retailers on the first floor, with offices and couple of apartments above.”

Fortin said those plans are a continuation of what he had envisioned for the building ever since he got involved with the project. He said that the building was always slated to host a creative workspace floor with two floors of residential units that could host as many as eight studio units, or two large penthouse-style units that take up an entire floor each.

“In all due respect, we just never had the right partner to make that happen,” said Fortin. “The investor in Atlanta overpaid for the building in 2007 — and he’d be the first to admit that — and he never wanted to take the risk to invest in remodeling it further. I think that in the long run it’s exciting to see new owners involved, and it’s also kind of a big relief. This has always been a bit of a field of dreams project for me.”

A cleaning crew was already hired by The Day Companies and set to work earlier today, cleaning up the windows, removing old signage and updating some of the landscaping outside the building.

“We want to make a little bit of a statement that we’re working to clean it up,” said Day. “The building has mostly just suffered from smoke damage. It’s going to take us a couple of months to get plans together and get our permits. I’d like to believe that we could have space for lease there in the spring.”

Fortin noted that former tenants Sugardaddy’s chose to terminate their lease following the fire, but the Sprint Store by Preferred Wireless had expressed interest in rebuilding and expanding to take over the entire first floor.

“Sprint was very successful in that location and they have some big ideas for the whole first floor,” he said. “But we were also talking to one other popular Downtown cafe that was interested in the former Sugardaddy’s space as well.”

Day concluded that they are looking for any retail and office tenants interested in being a part of Gay Street.

For more information, visit www.daycompanies.net.

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