"138 years in the making"      
Written by Administrator
Monday, 04 March 2013 21:43
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A New Life for a Historic Building

The Dannenberg Building is a turn of the century department store that was built in late 1800’s and experienced building additions on three different occasions, the last one occurring in 1922.  The Dannenberg Building is actually comprised of two building: one three story building and one four story building, and both buildings include a full basement floor with light wells on all four sides.  Plans include the building of 64 loft apartments ranging from 600 square feet to 1,400 square feet.  Three retail spaces are located on the ground floor, totaling 8,000 square feet.  An atrium will be situated in the center of the building with a skylight constructed above it that will provide natural light and ventilation in the core of the building. In addition, a pedestrian access bridge on the second floor connects to the new parking deck adjacent to the building on Poplar Street.

The exterior façade is being completely restored: all windows will be replaced or restored; all brick will be cleaned and re-pointed; facades on the ground level have been redesigned to resemble the original 1906 storefronts; light wells will be reopened and a railing will be added; signage will be constructed of metal letters that will be attached above the storefronts.  The total square footage for the project is approximately 90,000 square feet.

The Dannenberg will the 2nd largest Historic Loft redevelopment in Macon, Georgia. The building has been designed with Sustainability concepts and will meet the Secretary of Interior’s Standards. The project began in July 2012 and is scheduled to be completed by June 2013.

History of Dannenberg's

Walter Dannenberg’s father, Joseph Dannenberg, emigrated from Germany in the 1850s, but did not arrive in Macon until after the Civil War. In 1867, Joseph started a wholesale dry goods store with Myer Nussbaum. In the 1880s, they split up and went into business separately. At that point, Joseph partnered up with W.A. Doody and the business became known as the Dannenberg Company.

At age 16, Joseph’s son, Walter, joined the company and he eventually added a retail business. The company became a leading wholesale enterprise while also became one of the first firms in the country to departmentalize its retail store. Dannenberg’s Department Store was one of the leading stores in Macon. It was on the front lines during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Walter Dannenberg served on the Committee of Businessmen and Black Clergy and helped bring about the peaceful integration of Macon stores. Dannenberg’s quietly took down the segregation signs in its stores without any official announcement and proceeded to integrate its lunch counter without incident. The Dannenberg Department store closed in 1965. At the time, it was the largest department store in the area, but had been hurt by the opening of the local mall. In order to compete, they would have had to renovate the store; instead, they decided to liquidate the business.

Dannenberg’s store is believed to have first opened in about 1875 on Cotton Avenue. It moved to Third Street and expanded with a building on the corner of Third and Poplar streets in 1903.

Walter Dannenberg, who began working at his family’s business in 1939 while in high school, recalled how his grandfather added a fourth building to the complex in 1913, building it four stories tall “because he wanted it to be bigger.”

Developers were set to rehab the Dannenberg, once one of the Southeast’s largest department stores, before 2008, but the banking crisis derailed those plans. However, local officials got creative and put together a package of loans from bonds and a disaster grant in an effort led by NewTown Macon and joined by Macon, Bibb County, the Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority and the Development Authority of Bibb County.

The Dannenberg has been called the “keystone project” of NewTown’s “Phase III” of its revitalization plans, which will focus on a block-by-block approach to transform targeted areas downtown. Part of the plan is to add 125 new apartments downtown over the next five years

Read more here: http://www.macon.com/2012/07/24/2105548/officials-celebrate-dannenberg.html#storylink=cpy


Last Updated on Sunday, 01 September 2013 16:05