The Commerce Building is an historic building located in downtown Athens, Georgia. The building was constructed in 1908 as the headquarters of the Southern Mutual Insurance Company. There have been a number of businesses that have called the building home, including the Costa Family Soda Fountain. The building is now owned by a local dermatologist and has been converted into apartments and commercial space.
The Commerce Building, also known as the Southern Mutual
Building, is a neoclassical style building located on College Ave in downtown
Athens, Georgia. It was built in 1908 and was considered Athens’ first
skyscraper. The building is also the largest ferro concrete building in the
South. The building was designed by Atlanta architect Haralson Bleckley.
building was the headquarters for the Southern Mutual Insurance Company from
1908 to 1988. The company had previously operated from a three-story building
on the corner, and that building was moved when construction on the current building began. In 1988
the company moved to its current location on Alps Road. The Costa Family Soda
Fountain called the building home until 1939, when they opened up Costa's Ice
Cream Factory on East Washington Street. Milner, Stephens, & Bentley law
firm moved into the building in 1952 after waiting years for a vacancy and
remained there until 1982. Other businesses to occupy the building include
Georgia National Bank, C&S Bank, and Palmer and Sons Drug Store.
2004, the building was purchased by Dr. Fred Moorman, a local dermatologist,
who changed the name to The Fred Building. Today, the building houses
apartments as well as Fred’s Historic Properties, which is also owned by
Moorman. The apartments still contain original fixtures and floors from the
Southern Mutual Company offices. Fred’s Historic Properties manages a number of
apartments around downtown Athens, including the Albon Chase House, which is
one of the oldest mansions in Athens. Albon Chase owned and operated the precursor
for the Athens Banner-Herald, as well as working for the Southern Mutual