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June 4, 2008

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MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.
PO Box 908
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Jefferson, Georgia 30549


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NC Man Sees $$ Potential Of Downtown’s Old Buildings
A Greensboro, NC, man believes there’s money to be made in Commerce buildings.
Paul Kinetra has purchased and renovated the 4,200-square-foot building at 1782 North Broad Street that once housed Wood-Johnson Furniture. He’s also acquired the old Logo Express building at 25 State Street, which he will renovate.
He’s the owner of Bulldog Ventures LLC, which he calls “just one of the LLC’s (limited liability corporations) I set up.”
The object, Kinetra admits, is to make money. He’s renovated a couple of buildings in his hometown and leased them (though one is now between tenants).
“It’s primarily stuff I do that can make some money, but, two, I really love these old Southern downtowns,” he says.
The Downtown Development Authority last Wednesday approved a facade grant of $2,500 — the maximum dollar amount of the program — for the North Broad Street property.
“They’ve done a great job on that building,” noted Chairman Bob Sosebee.
“Wait until you go inside,” advised Hasco Craver, executive director.
The facade grant program offers a 50 percent reimbursement for improvements made to downtown building facades, but the limit is $2,500.
Kinetra spent a lot more than that getting the old Wood-Johnson building in shape.
He put on a new roof and restored the pine floors. He replaced the heating and air conditioning system, restored the windows and built a handicap ramp in the back.
“Pretty much everything has been renovated,” he advises.
There have been some inquiries about renting the property, but “nothing I thought was really suitable,” Kinetra said. “I would love to find the right person, and I will. It’s a beautiful building. It came out great; it has a lot of desirable features.”
Kinetra does not want to sell the property, and he says he’s a bit particular about who he leases to.
“It’s important to get a really good tenant in there, something that brings foot traffic into the town,” he said. “Some things don’t help the town.”
At 25 State Street, the plan is to develop an 1,800-square-foot two-bedroom loft apartment upstairs. The bottom comprises 3,600 square feet for retail use.
The storefront, originally 1,800 square feet but doubled, actually offers more character on the back side, according to its new owner.
“It’s got some neat old rafters and has a very great feel,” he stated.
Kinetra says the project could take five to six months.
Another Restaurant
But Kinetra’s buildings are just part of the activity among vacant downtown buildings.
Vaughn’s Wing Slingers Grill, a burger-wings restaurant, opened this week at 1662 South Broad Street (part of the Opera House complex). Its menu lists 20 styles of chicken wings, in addition to salads, buffalo tenders, ribs, eight kinds of burgers and a host of other sandwiches, wraps and appetizers. It has applied for a license to serve beer and wine.
Meanwhile, Billy Allen continues to work on a “very unique lease” with the U.S. Army, which would like to place a recruiting office at his North Elm Street building, according to Craver. Subway, he added, is considering a move to the old Hood Building on North Elm Street.
“That would be our first franchise restaurant in the downtown,” commented Sosebee. “They add a lot to Jefferson’s downtown, and I think they’d do a lot better than in the empty Ingles location.”


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