Plans are pending for the next use of the one-time church turned office/events space just off Turner McCall and Broad Street in downtown Rome.
Currently called The Neely, the building at 710 E. First St. has sold for $650,000 (corrected Friday morning). That’s a deal, especially with the proximity to Broad Street and the soon-to-start Varsity restaurant. Plus it is cattycorner to all the changes Ira Levy is orchestrating at the former Georgia Power office at Broad and Turner McCall.
For now, the buyers are not talking about what’s next. The spot includes 5,160 square feet as well as the always-golden 17 parking spaces.
It was last in the headlines in early 2021 as Braden Keith of Romega Digital immediately made some interior and exterior changes to launch a corporate events and multiuse site. It has been home to auctions, business gatherings and even a food truck nexus in recent months.
Michele Rikard and Jimmy Byars of Hardy Realty had the listing.
Word of the year: Demo
As we close 2022, we’re certain the word of the year is “demo,” short for demolition, as that has been one of the constants around town. Since Jan. 1, we’ve seen:
The former Dairy Queen come down to make way for The Varsity♦ off Spider Webb Drive.
♦ Numerous buildings toppled between West Third Street and the Oostanaula as Four Stones’♦ revitalization efforts increase in the River District.
♦ The now-rubble AT&T building♦ on Second Avenue, soon to give way to more townhomes.
♦ Any day now, the former Relax Inn and adjoining buildings off Martha Berry to make way for The Point♦ apartments and retail.
We expect more in 2023, including:
The former Elder’s Ace Hardware on Turner McCall next to Zaxby’s♦ . The scuttlebutt: A new Zaxby’s.
♦ Plus, at 1511 Dean Ave., it appears a building damaged by a recent fire is coming down (permit has been issued to Larry Martin; it is next to The Gravy Boat♦ ).
That ‘Next Big Thing’
We were wrong — on the location. For more than a year, we’ve been touting something huge planned near the red-hot I-75 corridor. We pegged it at the Union Grove interchange near Buc-ee’s mostly because of the massive development already underway.
We had heard “massive” and “electric vehicle-related” and that was about it. Thursday morning, the latest Bartow “boom” shook the region and will for decades to come.
As for where: The site is “Bartow Centre” off U.S. 411 just before the U.S. 41 interchange, an industrial park mostly forgotten because of the 75 corridor surge.
The Rome-Floyd County Development Authority’s recent interest in the “enterprise corner” east of Rome off 411 now looks genius. So do recent efforts to once again promote whatever we’re calling the 411 Connector this week.
This “December surprise” — with 3,500 jobs and an investment that could touch $5 billion — dwarfs any we’ve seen before. This is Northwest Georgia’s future.
Popcorn & Politics
‘Goo goo muck:’ The state of Georgia politics. The current social media rage is a dance scene from Netflix’s spinoff of the Addams Family focusing on a malevolent Wednesday. The brain-drilling song is a 1981 cover of “Goo Goo Muck” by The Cramps.
It also is the best way to describe Georgia politics in late 2022: goo goo muck.
Georgia is maintaining its headlock on national politics in the wake of the Raphael Warnock win on Tuesday. It was stunning to see MSNBC, Fox News, CNN and others fixated on Georgia’s Senate runoff, from the “big board” projections to commentary.
It was, as one MSNBC analyst said: Georgia in general and Atlanta in particular are the cultural centers of the changing United States’ demographic.
They nailed it by using the recent elections as a barometer. Once believed to be solid red, a majority of Georgians have now voted for a Democratic president, two U.S. senators in a January 2021 runoff and now re-electing one of those Democrats in just over two years.
Republicans swept all cabinet seats and the governor’s office once again in November but stand “oh and four” when it comes to Washington. We understand why there’s such a push for Georgia to vote early in the 2024 presidential sweepstakes.
Until then, expect more “blame game” politics as the GOP realizes Geoff Duncan’s call for a Republican 2.0 reset would have made a difference Tuesday (as would a Duncan Senate candidacy). But few have the guts to admit that.
Peaks & Valleys
The highs and lows of Northwest Georgia:
Peak to the religious leaders of Floyd County: As a wave of antisemitic paraphernalia sweeps into West Rome after discoveries in Bartow County, area faith leaders have issued a strong condemnation while likewise standing with “our Jewish brothers and sisters.” We can’t type “Amen!” fast enough.
Valley to the sudden surge in local traffic deaths: Four accidents in eight days left four people dead. There are differing factors in each case. After a rough 2021 on local roads, the numbers were looking better until now. And we’re entering one of the most dangerous times of the year, holiday travel. Let’s be careful out there.
Peak to Time magazine’s person of the year: Volodymyr Zelensky and the spirit of Ukraine. The resolve against Putin and his war machine is inspirational. We’re stunned by some of the Republican congressional discord against these freedom fighters.