The Threefoot Building
is a historic building located in downtown Meridian, Mississippi
. The building is is the tallest building in the city, standing 16 stories tall. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places
on December 18
, under the Meridian Multiple Property Submission
. It was built in 1929 as Meridian's Art Deco
Center but is now abandoned. Plans are currently underway to renovate the building possibly into an upscale hotel by the end of 2009.
The 16-story brick
structure is named after the Threefoot family, Jewish
immigrants who changed their name from Dreyfuss ("three foot" in German
) to better reflect their new American home. Abraham Threefoot began to make a name for the family in the late 1860s, and his sons, H. Marshall, Kutcher, and Lewis, continued the business after his death. By 1910, sales at Threefoot and Sons exceeded $100,000 per year. Just before the beginning of the Great Depression
, the company built the Threefoot Building in downtown Meridian on 22nd Avenue adjacent to the Marks-Rothenberg Department Store and the Grand Opera House
. The building was finished in 1929, shortly before the stock market crash
. A combination of shaky finances and the onset of the Great Depression
caused the family's business to cease operation, but the Threefoot Building remains a historic landmark in the city.
Threefoot Arts Festival
As a testament to the building's influence on the city, the city began in 2002 to hold an annual showcase of art
by local artists
. The city named the showcase the "Threefoot Arts Festival" in honor of the historic building. The festival
is held each year in October at Dumont Plaza, located two blocks
down from the building, and on 4th and 5th Streets between 22nd and 23rd avenues. The festival begins at 9 A.M. and lasts until 6 P.M. each year. Along with art exhibitions
from state and regional artists, the festival also features a variety of live music
throughout the day as well as food and beverages sold by local companies and organizations. Retail stores
throughout the city help to promote the festival by offering special deals and discounts
to members of the festival. Admission is free, so an accurate count of attendees is difficult to achieve, but annual turnout is estimated at 3,000 to 5,000.
The building is currently awaiting renovation by Historic Restoration a New Orleans
developer currently working on restoring the King Edwards Hotel
in Jackson, Mississippi
. The renovation will possibly transform the vacant building into a 200-room upscale hotel such as a Courtyard by Mariott
or a Hilton Garden Inn
complete with conference rooms, a restaurant or coffee shop, and retail shops. The demolition phase is set to begin around June 2008, and construction should begin at the end of the same year. The renovation is estimated to take 15 to 18 months to complete if all financing goes as planned. When the project is complete, Meridian's mayor, John Robert Smith, has mentioned plans for dramatic lighting, saying it will be seen "for miles in any direction ... It will be the most visible and most striking symbol of Meridian.
The project was green lighted after the construction of a new parking garage in downtown Meridian in 2005 to provide parking for events at the former Grand Opera House, renovated in 2006 into the Mississippi State University Riley Center for Education and the Performing Arts. For years the lack of parking availability had halted progress on the Threefoot Building's renovation, but the parking garage would provide an adequate amount. There is also a growing need for support operations for the Riley Center, and a ballroom, conference facilities, and hotel rooms in the Threefoot Building would fulfill that need.