Jesup stores lost to fire close to reopening - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Jesup stores lost to fire close to reopening

JESUP, GA (WTOC) -

One community's downtown square is literally rising from the ashes.

Jesup lost one of its historic commercial buildings in a huge fire last year. Now, a new building is nearing completion on the same site.

We all watched the horror when part of downtown Jesup burned to the ground, last August. Now, the Whaley building returns bigger and better and is very close to its opening.

Pavement and parking remain among the few things left on the punch list to finish the block of downtown. It was last August when fire started on the roof of the one story building and spread from one end to the other. The seven businesses and offices that rented there had to find temporary homes. Downtown Jesup Director, Maika Kicklighter, says the construction has been the talk of the town.

“Everybody asks ‘when is it going to be finished? When is it going to open? When will those businesses move back in,” said Kicklighter.

The brick outside harkens back to the building that sat in its spot in the early 1900's. However, the inside will be modern, and that's a plus for the businesses who will return, as well as everyone else.

“What happened was a tragedy and we lost part of downtown Jesup's history. But, at the same time, this has been an opportunity,” Kicklighter said.

She says this project has prompted other building owners to spruce up and beautify downtown. The next phase will be upstairs. That space will become Jesup's newest apartment buildings. No timetable has been set for that yet.

They hope to start moving in the tenants in the next few weeks, and have the sidewalk cleared by October, by Jesup's Archfest celebration.

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