LEXINGTON, N.C. -- The smokestack being taken down at Lexington's old Dixie Furniture plant this week signaled new growth for the city's Depot District.
Director of Business and Community Development Tammy Absher said Thursday that developers are planning to transform existing buildings nearby following the plant's demolition.
“They have plans for things such as restaurants, retail, some entertainment venue, that type of thing,” Absher said.
The mixed-use spaces will join businesses like Bull City Ciderworks and upcoming Goose and the Monkey Brew House. Brent Moore says once final plans are approved, the brew house hopes to start building in January.
"They saved our building and we’ve got some history here so we’re ready to bring it back to life,” Moore said.
Absher says the new businesses will all center around a planned train depot, which will provide passenger service to Raleigh, Charlotte and other major cities. While the service is still several years away, she said the city is ready to start applying for grants that would help fund the project.
Lexington residents said it was emotional to see the smokestack come down nearly one year after the plant was destroyed by a fire, but added that they're looking forward to the changes.
“Think what do you want to be 25 years from now, 50 years from now, not what you were 100 years ago,” Jim Nance said.
"There’s a lot of opportunity for change from what you see now, to an area that’s full of people, and walkable, lots of different uses, and really just a regional draw for this area,” Absher said.
Demolition at the plant is expected to be complete by Jan. 1.