A vacant historic building in Anniston gets a new life - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

A vacant historic building in Anniston gets a new life

By Dixon Hayes

ANNISTON,AL (WBRC) - Developers expect a longtime Anniston eyesore to began a new life this

year.

Watermark Towers will be the reborn version of what's now commonly

known in Anniston as the old Amsouth Building. It's been vacant since

a July 2003 fire that left heavy damage and dislocated numerous

businesses. One of those was the Fox6 Anniston Newsroom.

James Lloyd is among three business partners who purchased the

building. They were able to do it with historic tax credits, financing

from BBVA Compass bank and almost $5 million dollars in federal

stimulus funds.

The idea of restoring the building to its 1926 architectural cues,

dates back to 2003, when the Anniston Waterworks saved the building

from the wrecking ball.

"The first discussion was to bring it back historically or to modernize

it," recalls Llody. "At that time it was decided to bring it back

historically because of the tax credits. Tax credits are worth about a

million dollars, from the National Parks. Those are actually sold on

the market."

The recession and banking crisis caused the Anniston Waterworks

financing to fall apart. That's when Lloyd and his business partners

took over, keeping the building's newly adopted name, Watermark Towers.

The building was originally called the Lyles Building when it was

erected in 1926. "At that time it was one of the first concrete

structures in the U.S., high rise structures. When it was completed,

was the tallest building in Alabama," Lloyd explained.

The 1926 building also had a bank and a row of first floor shops. It

also had a single men's room on the second floor, the only women's room

on the sixth floor, and on the roof, racially segregated quarters for

the building's elevator operators.

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