A landmark Fondren building has sold to new owners who have the neighborhood’s local flavor and iconic character in mind.
The five-story tower, known to many as 3000 Old Canton, has been purchased from A. G. Helton by Little York Capital, a firm headquartered in Nebraska, who has fallen in love with Fondren.
Scott Overby, a principal with Jackson based The Overby Company, who brokered the sale and will manage the property, says it was the sale of assets in Texas that sparked Little York’s purchase.
“Little York purchased a shopping center in Madison in the late 2000’s, Overby explains. “And you know how you do, wanting to impress clients – you buy them dinner at Walker’s Drive-In. So when we helped them with the sale of some property in Texas, Little York remembered that dinner – and wanted to come back here, to reinvest that money and bring it to Fondren.”
Overby says after looking at thirty different potential investments, they kept returning to the neighborhood. “It’s our shops, our restaurants and the stability of our medical community. They love the subculture of the south, but the draw was Fondren.”
With new owners comes change — for the good. Overby has engaged the services of Architect Jeff Seabold and tenant, Interior Designer Celia Barrett to begin renovations, most of them cosmetic. “It’s time for a refresh, maintaining the history of the building,” he says. “It’s modern trends and greening initiatives meets 1965.”
The list of work is exhaustive: carpet, paint, landscaping, improved parking, LED lighting, re-glazing the original bathroom floors, an improved lobby with a possible retail location, bike racks and new inclusive signage, which will help dispel a popular myth. “Ironically, many people think the building is nearly vacant,” Overby explains. With only four build-to-suit spaces available, he says the plan gives existing tenants and new ones everything they are paying for and more.
3000 Old Canton, boasting 54,000 square foot under roof, was built in 1960. Overby remembers as a child having lunch with original tenant, Morrison’s Cafeteria, and notes long-term tenants like dermatologist Dr. Louis Wise and wood broker, Clarke Veeners. Lakeland Optical, the Mississippi Kidney Foundation and Surin anchor the bottom floor while advertising agency Creative Distillery, dentist Harmony Dental and the corporate offices of McDade’s Market, just to name a few, round out the eclectic mix on floors two through five.
“It’s a mix, a bit of everything, and they loved the current tenants. That was a selling feature of the property,” he adds.
Overby points to another iconic Fondren landmark as an aspirational goal. “What Mike Peters has done with Fondren Corner, we hope to get to that point with the 3000 building as well.”
With huge traffic on the State Street side of the downtown Fondren historic district, Overby hopes 3000 Old Canton Road can become that east side anchor. He draws imaginary lines, pointing out Waddell Nejam’s Fondren Village and the Bob Carroll managed Woodland Hills Shopping Center. “We’re the next piece over. If we can tie that back in together, the spring days will find a big walking circle around those. All the pieces are there to continue the positive growth and keep building Fondren.”
Little York recently purchased another notable Jackson building while at the table. 1675 Lakeland Drive, Riverhill Tower, is just beyond Fondren and has been home for years to a Regions bank branch. Overby calls it a “stable, high traffic area” they hope to give presence, and a more iconic stature to add to the LeFleur East neighborhood.