When Tracy Waters and Tracy Ham constructed their shopping center at the corner of Lovett Road and Brannen Street in 1995, there weren't many neighbors so-to-speak.
"It was us, Winn Dixie, and the buildings on the corner of Brannen and Gentilly," Waters said. "The first building that we built, we immediately leased out the three bays. That is when we decided to build a much larger second building, and added an office building in the back."
Since that time, TNT Enterprises has been able to keep the 25,000-square-foot shopping center leased. Riding on their success, Waters said that he and Ham felt it was time to do some renovation.
"We decided to update with some new stucco, lighting and paint," he said. "We have been working on it the last few weeks, and are about ready to begin the brick phase. I hope that people will be able to see a big difference."
Jackie Hinson of Heavenly Ham is very pleased that his building is being renovated.
"I think this is great, because it is giving a new face to our building, and that can be very important," Hinson said. "Sometimes, people have a tendency to focus on the new things that are being built in town, and this lets us be one of those new things, per se. It really gets people's attention, and the remodeling has begun to help us. We have already seen an increase in our business since the renovation began."
Waters said they began to plan for remodeling in 2008, but became sidetracked because of the economy.
"It took us awhile, but we got back on track," Waters said. "We are being financed by the Claxton Bank, and they have been great to work with. I am glad that we were able to secure the money locally. That worked out fine."
Waters said the property upon which the development sits was originally purchased by a friend of his from Jacksonville.
"He bought it to develop it, but never really did anything. So Tracy and I asked if we could buy a piece, and we built the original three bay building," he said. "When that was immediately successful, we went right back and bought the rest of the land, and built our other building. It has been a great project for all of these years."
Waters said he realizes there is a great deal of undeveloped land around his shopping center.
"Honestly, I haven't heard of anything that might be going in, but there are rumors all of the time. There is a large parcel behind us, and then there is all of that land in between Moe's and where the new Vaden Nissan is being built. The bottom line is, there are 20,000 cars that pass by here each day, and it looks as if it is going to get busier. That is a wonderful thing. For anyone who is interested, we have 1,200 square feet available to rent."