GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY - CommunitySmith, a Raleigh-based community revitalization company, is close to reaching terms with property owners to renovate buildings in uptown Greenville.
The properties would include 201, 203, 205 and 207 E. 5th Street, 417 Cotanche Street and 703 Dickinson Avenue.
Mayor Allen Thomas says they would be taking some of the most decayed buildings in Greenville and turning them into some of the best in what he calls "a game changer" for the area.
Darren Blunt of Cape Fear Tattoo, which is located across the street from the properties on 5th Street, says he thinks "it's gonna be great, you know the more people around, the better for everybody."
Some of the buildings included in the plan currently house businesses. The property at 703 Dickinson Avenue is home to Ann's Antiques at Remember When, owned by Ann and Richard Kruse.
Richard Kruse says he's "not 100 percent for it." He and his wife have been running their antique shop out of the building for 16 years after moving down from New York City. He says if the deal goes through, which he believes it will, they'll have to close up shop.
"What's gonna be is gonna be," says Kruse, "I have no control over, I'm a, I'm a tenant." If they do have to leave, he says the customers who have kept their business afloat for so many years are who he'll miss most.
While looking back on the last 16 years he said, "we worked hard here, it wasn't too much hustle and bustle outside, but we worked hard in here."
Mayor Thomas said the project would begin in the fall and hopefully be completed sometime in 2014.
CommunitySmith says the project translates to up to a $4 million dollar investment. They currently have a similar project underway in Wilson.