After nearly two years of vacancy, the former EM Ford building was purchased by Shane Satterfield to convert to his new State Farm Insurance office. The historic sassafras tree located on the property will remain untouched.
Satterfield purchased the property, located at 2100 Frederica St., last week for $375,000 and has plans to move in by Jan. 4.
The building was put on the market after the EM Ford relocated downtown in early 2019. The property was built in the late 1920s and the independent insurance agency worked from the location beginning in 1983.
The property is also home to the largest-known sassafras tree in the world, a landmark that is not protected from being torn down.
Satterfield had been searching for new office space for a long time before “immediately” falling in love with the space upon first glance. He said he respected the history behind the building and the sassafras tree, adding that he had no plans to have the tree removed.
“It’s a really cool feature. We’re really excited about the tree being there,” he said. “We plan on using the tree as a location [focus].”
While the building’s exterior will remain the same, Satterfield will be renovating the interior by replacing the carpet, adding laminate flooring, repainting, and converting one of the offices into a new kitchen and bathroom. He and four of his employees will work from the new office, while 600-800 square feet of space will be leased out.
Satterfield’s current State Farm office is located nearby on Frederica Street. When looking for a new space, he said he wanted to remain on one of the city’s busiest streets because of its visibility and location, and that he’d been eyeing the former EM Ford building for a while before taking the leap.
“I want to express my appreciation to the Ford family,” he said. “They’ve had a great legacy and we are excited to continue that legacy in that building.”