MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A handful of businesses in Old Cloverdale are in negotiations to buy the buildings they've leased for years.
Business owners say earlier this year, the owner of the buildings that house Sinclair's, Capri Theatre, Stonehenge Gallery, and Susan Howard Stone, Inc., put the block up for sale.
The announcement started a chain of events aimed at keeping the heart of Old Cloverdale intact.
Students say they enjoy the neighborhood the way it is now.
"I feel safe over here. There's a lot of individualistic things you can have fun doing," said Huntingdon senior Stephanie Vanarsdale.
Owners were surprised by the news.
"Why didn't they tell us first?" asked Martin McCaffery, director of the Capri Theatre.
"We have tried in the past to purchase the building, and we were never ever able to get it, so now that it's on sale, it sort of came as a shock."
For a while, owners and residents worried about the future of the block and the neighborhood.
"The Capri and that whole area is the centerpiece of that whole business district, so we wanted it to be bought by someone who had an interest in it and wanted it to remain like it is," said Todd Kirk, mayor of the Old Cloverdale Association.
Businesses quickly banded together to preserve the block.
"We had to scramble to get together and form a coalition needed to be able to get the money," McCaffery said.
With deals still in negotiations, Cloverdale residents are optimistic.
"It's just got a good vibe to it, and we don't want to see that change," Kirk said.
Meanwhile, patrons hope the mainstays stick around for many more years to come.
"I definitely like coming here and like this side of town a lot," said William Hughes of Montgomery.
"It's just one of the places you remember. It's got character. I like this strip a lot," explained Elizabeth Bownes, also of Montgomery.
While the talks to takeover the block continue, owners are looking at this with a sense of optimism.
Owners of Capri Theatre, for example, hope to close on their sale by October 1, then raise money for renovations they just couldn't do with a month-to-month lease. @
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