The first project to use part of the $5 million in bonds from NewTown Macon and the Bibb County Development Authority is underway.
Walter Dannenberg is the former owner of the 80,000 square-foot department store at the corner of Poplar and Third Streets. He says he's ready to see the building come back to life.
"Somebody's been trying to do this for the past twenty years," says Dannenberg.
On Tuesday, community leaders discussed the future for the building Dannenberg says is full of his history.
The project will transform the space into 69 apartments and three commercial areas. The architect, Gene Dunwody, says construction is moving faster than he planned.
He says, "When we started about six years ago, we thought it would probably take a year and a half to two years, but when we found somebody who could move faster, we certainly did offer a great prospect for us."
The building will hold studio apartments as well as one, two, and three bedroom units. Dunwody says some of them will be ready for residents by the beginning of next year. He says the rest of constuction should wrap up within 12 months.
Macon mayor Robert Reichert says this project is a stepping stone to revitalizing the downtown area.
"The more residents that you have in the downtown area the more businesses are inclined to locate here, restaurants, small shops and boutiques," says Reichert. "You begin to build up a critical mass for consumers in the downtown area which is vital."
Dunwody plans to have model apartments for people to view within th next two months.