Noble street business

Two prominent downtown addresses — Watermark Tower and the Caldwell Building — that sold at auction in December are now officially in new hands. (Photo by Trent Penny)

Two historic Noble Street buildings sold at auction in December might help attract further business to Anniston if their new owner fills the spaces, according to a Main Street Anniston representative.

Reilly Johnson, director of the organization, said that filling in the Caldwell Building and Watermark Tower — located across the street from each other at the intersection of Noble and 10th streets — with new business might help the city’s downtown district grow, even if the new businesses aren’t boutiques or restaurants.

“It does a lot for people to see the buildings being taken care of,” Johnson said by phone Wednesday. “It’s kind of a domino effect. It makes it more apparent there’s activity and there’s life and vibrancy, and I think that’s contagious.”

Johnson said she had yet to speak to the new owner of the properties.

Both buildings were purchased by a client of Eric Grabois, the Florida-based attorney confirmed Wednesday. He declined to identify his client, citing attorney-client confidentiality.

According to deeds obtained at the county probate office, the Caldwell Building was purchased by Jaffo LLC for $305,250, and Watermark Tower was purchased by Sea Palace LLC for $330,000.

Both companies list the same primary address in Doral, Fla. That address is the site of a Premium Credit Bureau location. The firm lists credit reports and employment screenings among its services. The company’s president, Moshe Zuchaer, appears as an authorized representative for both companies on the State Department of Florida’s business search website.

Attempts to reach Zuchaer by phone Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Both buildings sold for less than their appraised values, according to auction documents. County tax records have the 11-story Watermark Tower, constructed in 1927, sold to its last buyer in 2010 for $1.16 million. The Caldwell Building, built in 1889, was appraised by the county for the 2019 fiscal year at a value of $417,280 for the land and building.

At the time of the sale, City Manager Jay Johnson said the low sale prices might be a benefit to the city, with the new owner potentially using saved money to improve the property, though he noted that was speculation.

Reilly Johnson said any new businesses at the two buildings would be among a few others to arrive on Noble Street in recent months. Widenet Consulting, a web development firm previously based in Oxford, moved into the former site of the Rabbit Hutch shop this year, she said, and quick-lunch stop Bistro 1307 opened late last year. The restaurant’s owners only used half of the space at their address to build the bistro, she said, and plan to open a separate, full-service restaurant using the remaining space.

She said other properties are up for sale on Noble Street, including the former Griffin’s Jewelry location, and the building at 1201 Noble.

Those properties are promoted through advertising and social media, she said, but big events like the Noble Street Festival and Neewollah also help introduce potential buyers to downtown Anniston.

“It reintroduces people to the area and it changes their perceptions of what downtown can be,” she said.

Assistant Metro Editor Ben Nunnally: 256-235-3560.