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What’s now happening in the Dublin Skyscraper after decades of vacancy

DUBLIN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – At over a century old, the First National Bank in Dublin is simply known as ‘the skyscraper’ to locals.

It broke ground in 1912, serving not only as a bank, but as a home to professional offices for doctors, attorneys, and the like. But after boll weevils, the Great Depression, and time, the building shut its doors and stood vacant for three decades.

“As a child walking through Downtown Dublin, the building was, you know, dilapidated. There were broken windows and everything,” says Priscilla Adams Smith, the director of Georgia Military College’s Dublin campus

Not anymore, as recent renovations overhauled the structure. It was cleaned, fixed, and brightened with lights.

“To see this building lit up at night, oh, it just represents hope and opportunity,” Smith says.

The Georgia Military College moved into the skyscraper, taking the second, third and fourth stories. The college offers core classes and the opportunity not only for an Associate’s degree to its students, but also in any of a list of 41 colleges and universities with which Georgia Military College has an articulation agreement.

On the first floor, you can see the building’s history hang right above what used to be the bank vault. Now the vault’s a cooler and stashes food at Landmark Cafe and Market, perfect for hungry students.

“We tried to use the bank vault and history of the building not just for decor but also in the food,” Jennifer Shaffer says, the owner of Landmark Cafe on the building’s first floor.

Jennifer Shaffer, a co-owner of Landmark, attended Culinary School in New York and also lived in Florida. So when she and her husband first moved here, people called them for catering, and she’d list her menu that she was used to doing outside of Georgia.

People’s reactions?

“They would kind of look at us with their eyes crossed; they had no idea what we were talking about. And so they would start rattling off things like pimento cheese and chicken salad, and we were just kinda like, ‘We better learn how to adapt,'” Shaffer says.

So they took the dishes people in the south loved, injected their personal taste, and Jennifer says it’s been working well.

The top two stories of the building are vacant. The plans are to lease them out to professionals.

March 10, 2016 | Posted in