Here's the latest update on Downtown Canton's historic Jones Building from Canton City Manager Billy Peppers:
Very few commercial buildings in Cherokee County can boast the age of the historic Jones Building in downtown Canton. The massive building that would stand as a city block in many communities anchors the eastern side of Cannon Park. The building has served as the focal point of the central business district since 1879, when it originally opened as the Jones Mercantile. Serving the residents of Cherokee County with everything from hardware to haberdasheries, food to furniture, and children’s toys to caskets, the store was a one-stop shop and the original Cherokee County department retailer. The Jones Mercantile accepted mill currency and store credit, being on the cutting edge of retailing. It originally stood as only half the building mass that is currently visible until a two story addition was built adjacent to the first structure on the east side along Main Street. By 1921, the expansion had a third story added on that new space and the building’s storefront along Main Street was seamlessly designed. The building would undergo a remodel in the 1950s. Finally, in 1973, as was the retail trend, an aluminum and stucco façade was installed covering up the facility.
Purchased by Cherokee County in the late 1980s for additional administrative office space, the building was subdivided from large open floor space to office suites for varied County operations. In January 2017, the City of Canton took ownership of the facility from Cherokee County as part of an asset swap through the consolidation of fire services. City Council immediately hired Lord Aeck Sargent’s (LAS) Atlanta Office and the duo of Jack Pyburn and Esther Davis to assist in putting together plans for the renovation of the exterior of the facility. Throughout the last several months, LAS has had the building scanned, has employed environmental engineers to scan and test building materials, have examined contributing elements of the historic building (woodwork, windows, masonry, structure and mechanicals), all in order to create architectural designs for bidding for construction.
In May, City leaders approved the use of a Construction Manager at Risk platform for the work at the facility. The CM at Risk will oversee the project, subcontracting labor to varying groups through an open book system while bidding out all work. This philosophy assists the City with establishing a not-to-exceed budget for the project. The project will be redeveloped in two phases: a building envelope renovation and an operational renovation. The first phase includes replacement of the roof structure and renovation of the façade of the facility. This will include repair and replacement of masonry, windows, and the addition of historically accurate commercial storefront designs. Additionally, during this first phase, the CM at Risk will be responsible for the selective demolition of the interior non-attributing elements. During this process, interior walls will be removed as well as some of the non-original floor systems used to subdivide the building. A CM at Risk should be hired by the end of August and selective interior demolition, the new roofing system and exterior renovation work will be in full swing later this fall.