Developer wants to make southern Greensboro a destination

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Rolling into the Gate City from South Elm Street, your eyes meet the shells of factories built a century ago. Some have been left hollow, crumbling over the years, but others have been repurposed.

The Old Greensborough Gateway Center, which was once the Blue Bell building, has been used as office spaces since the 1980s. Now transformation is happening brick by brick.

“My goal is to try to attract an anchor tenant to downtown Greensboro,” said project developer Andy Zimmerman.

He’s trying to pull in a major retailer like Mast General Store or a VF Outlet to the space in southern Greensboro. If no big retailers bite, then he will turn the space into a similar incubator as one of his previous project: HQ Greensboro.

“The building was a manufacturing space, so we’ve got to add some elements that are going to attract people to this space,” Zimmerman said. “I want to do outdoor patios, I want to do great landscaping around.”

The first step involves revealing the windows on the first and second floor of the building that have been sealed in by brick for decades.

Current tenants were once nervous, but now excited for the change.

“Any time you’re going from old to new, there’s always gonna be a transformation. Sometimes it’s not always gonna be smooth, but it’ll be for the better,” said UThant Devlin, who runs a shoe shinning business in the building.