WHAT WE THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT.
Our company started on the second floor of a building at 200 South Main Street. At the time it was right next door to the abandoned and boarded-up Family Court building (now the home of Design Partnership), two doors down from the abandoned and boarded-up Poinsette Hotel (now the Westin Poinsett), and across the street from Cancellation Shoe Mart (now Soby’s Restaurant). When we moved in, downtown was so dead, you could lie down for a nap in the middle of Main Street at 3:00 in the afternoon, without worrying about being hit by a car. Then came the boom.
In the big plan to beautify downtown the city completely tore up main street and the little courtyard in front of our building, put in pavers and a fountain. They also imploded the old Poinsett Hotel parking deck and build a brand new parking deck, in conjunction with the Westin’s complete restoration of the hotel. Also, Downtown Baptist Church sold off their Sunday School wing as condos, and they were doing serious construction on that. And the Family Court Building because a huge renovation project. And Soby’s bought, gutted, and built their restaurant in the shell of the old Cancellation Shoe Mart. ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
At one point, our building was completely surrounded by mud, ankle deep. They laid plywood planks, end-to-end, all the way around our building, so we could get out to the street. It was a blast receiving clients.
One day, I was headed to lunch, only to discover a backhoe parked snug against our door. I had to call my councilman to get them to move the heavy equipment, so I could go to lunch.
Well, the improvements were real improvements. We were there for another year or so, and then we moved down to the second floor of a building at 300 South Main Street. Right next to the bridge. We were there for a year ago, and right across the river begins the biggest construction project since…the one we were in the middle of up the street.
Over the course of a year or so, they built this big, ol’ ship looking thing on the corner of Main and Camperdown (High Cotton is there, in case you want some great food and mediocre service—also Starbucks). Right across from that, they put in the world’s coolest pedestrian bridge (no kidding). And they put in some condos, a Hampton Inn, and an office complex. After surviving that, we moved again…
We closed on our current headquarters, December 28, 2006, just in time to get some closing costs applied to 2006 taxes. When we closed, it was pretty much a concrete box in a 100 year old building. Next door were some seriously cool, big bucks residential condos under construction. They’re talking like $300/foot.
So, for a month, both our building and the building next door, and the street out front were a construction site. By the grace of God, Koko (our contractor) was able to get us into move-in shape by January 31, when our old lease ran out. That’s an awesome story in itself—for another slow news day. But as of now, we come to work every day through construction barricades, past heavy equipment. And for the past couple of weeks, we have to run the gauntlet of utility digs in the street.
Maybe we’re just destined to live in a construction zone.