In 1919, right after the Spanish Flu epidemic, investor Robert E. McCormack visited the city of Albany, Georgia. He was a Birmingham investor looking for a brand new business opportunity and he found one right here in the Good Life City. With the help of other investors, McCormack was able to set up a candy business called Famous Candy Company. Starting out just by selling peppermint sticks and taffy, McCormack’s business began to grow and he soon started to branch out into other lines of candy. By 1924, he had renamed his business to Bobs Candy Company. By the 1930s, McCormack’s business had grown so large that he had to move to a larger facility. It was at that point where he built the building that would house his confectionary business on 125 Pine Avenue.
For years, that building on 125 Pine has survived floods, tornados and the Great Depression. And while Bobs Candy Company has long since left, the building stands strong. Not just as a historical landmark, but as the centerpiece of the revival of Downtown Albany. After an extensive refurbishment thanks to a joint effort between Dougherty County and The University Funding Foundation, the Pine Avenue Building has become just one of the many symbols of a revitalized downtown.
The building is a multi-purpose, high-tech office and event center that houses the USDA Farm Service Agency, the Cooperative Extensive Service and branches of Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia. Meanwhile, the second floor is currently housing the Georgia Water Policy and Planning Center, cybersecurity and IT support company NEOS and start-up advertising agency The Levee Studios. The space is currently 100% occupied.
But it’s not just Pine 125 that is helping bring business to Downtown Albany. Nearby are several examples of reinvigorated neighborhood. Right next door is the Flint Riverquarium, which has become a local tourist spot. Just one block west is the “Flats at 249”, a high-end residential space that has become a very popular spot for renters. And across the street is Pretoria Fields, Albany’s most popular and well-known brewery.
The area surrounding Pine Avenue is also becoming a nexus for new business growth that will be coming to Albany post-pandemic. Just on the corner will be the future home of Cornerstone Coffee + Co, a family-owned business that had just relocated from Savannah. And by late 2022, the Gordon Hotel will be renovated into a luxury Marriott that preserves the historical exterior while modernizing the interior.