Old Simmon’s Funeral Home reborn

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By Tia Lynn Ivey

managing editor

A massive historic building on East Washington Street is currently being restored to match its
original appearance in 1902.

The 13,000 square-foot building, which has been vacant for over a decade, will be transformed inside by the new owners, Dan Belman and Randy Korando, to feature three residential units, three small office spaces and two new restaurants.

“It’s a very popular thing to do right now to have a work-play-live environment all rolled into one,” said Belman. “That’s what we are trying to do with this building.”

Belman and Korando bought the building a little over a year ago, working with Madison’s Historic Preservation Commission on design plans to restore the exterior.

“It’s a wonderful old building and a wonderful piece of Madison’s history. It’s a real honor to bring it back to looking how it used to look originally and to bring it back as an asset to the city,” said Belman. “We are very excited about it.”

The two moved to Madison 15 years ago and also own a business together in Atlanta called Boxwoods Gardens and Gifts.

“We are partners in life and in business,” said Belman. “We wanted to move our lives to Madison. We always say Madison is 50 miles and 50 years away from Atlanta,” said Belman of small-town life in the our historic city.

The couple is enjoying the process to restoring and revamping one of Madison’s prized historic buildings. The building formerly housed the old Simmon’s Funeral Home. When the building was first constructed in 1902, it housed the Thompson Wagon Works for nearly two decades.

“It has a great history and we are excited to become a part of it,” said Belman.

According to Ken Kocher, city preservation specialist, the owners have a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) and demolition permit to remove the stucco, structural pigmented glass, and balcony from the front of the building. According to Belman, the balcony will be reconstructed in accordance to the original design spanning across the entire building and over part of the street.

Madison Mayor Fred Perriman is pleased with the project, excited for the building to be in use once again.

“It’s bringing the dead back alive again,” said Perriman.

According to Belman, they hope to have building completely restored and renovated, both inside and out, by spring of 2018.

“That’s our goal,” said Belman.

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