Old Structure Gets New Life
Architect Jeff Spikes’ vision to become reality in former garage
Architect Jeff Spikes stood in the middle of his latest project and imagined the possibilities that already have been years in the making.
“I’ve been looking at it for almost seven years now,” he said. “We took some funky, cool pictures of our two boys when they were itty bitty in front of that building, so that got me even more sentimentally attached to it. I knew I wanted this place. I’ve had a project folder on it for the past seven years, and every six months or so, I’d go back and play with it in case it ever happened. Finally, I had the opportunity and jumped on it.”
Spikes recently bought the building at 408 Cotton St., in the same block with the Downtown Development Authority and Cotton Street Farms. He plans to call the building Cotton Station in a tribute to the days when trains and coal were kings on Cotton Street.
“There are these big, concrete columns across the street,” he said. “Those are actually a structure for an old coaling station. Before the turn of the century, they needed that structure to offload coal to get it to wherever it was going.”
The building includes 12,000 square feet on the main floor and a 5,000-square-foot lofted mezzanine. The former garage consists of an auto repair pit in one of the four bays on the main floor. Spikes has big plans for that space.
“Do you remember the Michael Jackson ‘Billie Jean’ video?’ he asked. “I’d like to have a disco floor like that, where everywhere you step the floor lights up. That’s my whimsical side.”
Current plans for the building include a kitchen for Sweetport, the ice cream and confection business Spikes and his wife, Nicole, operate. The space also will house the Sweetport food truck when it is not in service. Spikes also plans to put a workshop in the space as well.
The two other spaces on the main floor would be available for lease, Spikes said. He also is considering loft apartments on the mezzanine level. Spikes said he anticipates eight to 10 months before the space is movein ready.