GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Several new businesses are opening and expanding in downtown Greensboro.
Chaney Properties recently bought the historic Book Trader Building, which was built in 1902. After sitting vacant for years, Dawn Chaney and her business partner are bringing it back to life.
"I feel very exhilarated about it. I came downtown with my first building in 1979," said Chaney. "We love downtown."
Chaney says they plan to turn the first floor into retail space and have apartments on the second and third floors. They hope to be done with renovations by the end of the year.
On West Lewis Street, Gibb's Hundred Brewing Company hopes to be open for business by the end of summer.
"We're really excited to be here particularly, because we want to bring people down to the south end," said Ruth Weening, marketing and tap room manager of Gibb's Hundred Brewing Company. "We want our tap room to represent the community around it. This gives us a really good platform for that. We can have artists in this area be part of the design, the tap handles and the t-shirts. Every little part of it is going to be coming from this community."
The brewery will have several local craft beers on tap. What makes the business unique is they won't serve food, but they will invite food trucks to park outside. Customers will also be encouraged to order or bring their own food.
Jason Cannon, president of Downtown Greensboro Incorporated, says he's noticed substantial movement on downtown properties in the last year. However, finding tenants for all the empty store fronts comes with challenges.
"We have buildings that have oftentimes sat for decades and haven't had the attention they need. Between the way they were left and the time period that has elapsed, it takes a substantial amount of investment," said Cannon.
Cannon says DGI is compiling data to find out exactly how many store fronts are still empty. However, he says one thing is clear -- investors believe downtown is where people want to be.
"It's a part of our history and it's a part of who we are. It's preserving our history and it's preserving our future," said Chaney.