Jim Moore knows this for certain about the building he once owned off Broad and Main streets in downtown Gainesville.
“It was built like a fortress,” he said of the three-story building at 200 Broad St. NW across from the Gainesville parking deck.
Built in 1940, according to Hall County records, the structure would have been put up in the wake of the 1936 tornado that devastated downtown.
The building’s future looks pretty secure, as well.
Bought last summer by Scott Moore of Moore’s Wealth Management and three partners, the new owners have renovated much of the former Sidney O. Smith Building, adding new interiors, flooring, lighting and other touches. A fire in February forced a redo of some of the work.
“We expanded things, we opened things up, pretty much rebuilt this whole space,” said Moore, Moore’s founder and president, and no relation to Jim Moore. “Structurally, the building is very sound.”
A grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for noon Friday, April 1, at the building, now known as The Moore Building.
Scott Moore, who bought the building along with three partners for $2.35 million, gave The Times a recent tour of the building, which previously housed McGriff Insurance Services.
Work for now is confined to the first two floors, including space that could be rented to the public. The third floor, which has several tenants, isn’t slated for any improvements soon, Moore said.
Moore’s Wealth Management had been in the Hosch building, a historic structure off Washington Street downtown, for 14 years.
“We wanted something on or near the square,” Moore said, explaining the move of his business. “We really like the fact that it’s on Main Street. That’s always a nice address to have.”
The building has a Broad Street address, technically, but there’s Main Street access — an entry that Moore’s is dressing up with its name and logo. Besides, 230 Main St. “is in the post office system,” Moore said.
The move in January also boosted Moore’s space. The investment management firm is operating out of 6,000 square feet, compared to about half that at Hosch.
Moore’s building originally housed Palmour’s Hardware, then later Mather Furniture, said Jim Moore, recalling the building’s history.
When he and his partners bought the building 38-plus years ago, the only entrance was on Main Street. The Broad Street entrance was added later.
“There was nothing attractive about the building,” Jim Moore said. “It was just white concrete.”
“We renovated it, made offices out of it and covered the exterior with stucco,” he said. “Years later, we bricked the entire building.”
Moore’s insurance business was in the building, growing in size as other tenants’ leases expired, eventually occupying 60% of the building, he said.
After the sale, he paid attention to Scott Moore’s renovation of the building.
“It was really needed,” said Jim Moore, who had been vice president and agency manager at BB&T Sidney O. Smith Insurance.
Happy about the renovations to the building, Jim Moore, who retired in 2014, also fondly recalled the building’s longtime former name, noting that Smith “had the first insurance license issued in Georgia.”
“We always kept that name because not only was he well-known in the Gainesville community … but also throughout the state,” he said.