It's back on track and full steam ahead for the so-called alleyway project in downtown Montgomery.
"It's a done deal," said Jeff Downes, Executive Assistant to Mayor Bobby Bright.
One year from now expect an entirely different look, nothing like the shattered past of neglect and brokenness. The alleyway is located at the corner of Commerce and Tallapoosa Streets and right now it's home to some vacant warehouses that clearly had seen better days.
"There will be restaurants, cafe tables outside, people strolling through and shops,' Downes said.
In other words it'll have a New Orleans style feel to it, but getting the concept off paper wasn't easy. All 7 property owners had to make some hard, hard choices.
"They had to agree to deed a portion of what they own in the alleyway to the city as well as agree to fix up their facade with their own money," said Downes.
In fact, WSFA 12 News interviewed Downes on a balcony that had already been constructed by one of the private property owners. It overlooks at the alleyway.
Greg Allen, for one, initially had reservations whether the idea, first proposed 7 years ago in a city master plan study, even made sense.
"I really didn't understand the plans all that well," Allen said.
Now Allen is on board. The alleyway's formal entrance will begin at Allen's building on Commerce Street with the rear of his building exiting to the alleyway.
The property owners even had doubts whether or not the downtown Marriott Renaissance Hotel and Spa would be built. Now it's here. The hotel is less than a block away.
And much like the hotel the alleyway is costing a bundle. For property owners, millions of dollars to do their part. The city and county are forking over a million, all of it coming from taxes collected from properties that have appreciated in downtown. Jeff Downes knows there may be critics, wondering if this is a good use of public money, especially in light of all the talk about a national recession.
Reporter: "What if this doesn't work?"
Downes: "It will work. Remember, this is a long term project."
Allen adds 'if you stay stagnant, you won't grow.'
Construction is expected to begin in mid-March and wrap up 6 months later.