MACON, Ga. — One of Macon's most notorious blighted properties will soon become apartment units.
Baconsfield Office Park sat vacant for years as folks in the neighborhood wondered what might happen to it. It fell into disrepair, collecting dust. Now, owner Ashok Patel wants to change that.
If I-16 through downtown Macon is part of your commute, you'll see it. It's not the highway construction, but the construction on the other side of the interstate. It's construction at Baconsfield Office Park.
"They were tearing out the roof because it actually looks like it caught on fire," neighbor Nestle Benefield said, recalling when the work first started.
Years ago, the building did catch fire, at least three times over 14 months.
Today, it's a much different story. Patel says crews are working around the clock to turn the place into apartments.
"That's a joy to me to know they're working on the building and not allowing it to just sit there," Benefield said.
She can actually see the blighted building from her patio. For a bit, the building made her feel uneasy.
"I felt very unsafe, because anyone could have vacated there or occupied it, or perhaps done things that are illegal," she explained.
Patel says soon, she'll have new neighbors, paying rent for 62 one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. He wants to get it done quickly, because he feels east Macon needs it. Benefield couldn't agree more.
"Gives me a safer feeling, just being here," she said.
Each building on the property is essentially gutted, but Patel still wants to keep a pretty ambitious timeline. He plans to open the place up by January. Patel says right now, his team is working on underground plumbing and electricity.
He added the apartments will not be Section 8, but they will be market-rate.