Wiregrass Newsroom: Downtown Dothan is Back

Dothan, AL (WSFA) -- A facelift--an accurate description of downtown Dothan.  After years of a struggling downtown area, the past year has been a turn in the right direction.

Nick Nitkowski moved here to get in on the action. He's opening D'Monicos Italian Gardens restaurant next week, but also has a $3 million dollar plan for additional space.

"We'll also have apartments on the third floor, a fitness center, and a pool on the roof.  And a lot of new venues right here in this building," Nick says.

D'Monicos is one of many new shops sprouting up. In the last eight months, 17 businesses have decided to make downtown Dothan their home.

Cathy Cole with the Downtown Group says, "The historic district is experiencing an amazing renaissance right now. Even with the economy the way it is, what we're seeing down here is people wanting to open up, or purchase buildings, and renovate them and open up new businesses."

For years, the block of North Foster street was virtually empty. But that's not the case anymore. Properties along the stretch are selling fast.  In fact, only seven of them still remain vacant.

And Nick says he's thrilled.

"The Dothan market is really, really on the verge of something great."

Something else that is great to him are the recipes of his head chef, his mother.

"I grew up on them, so I don't worry about the food one bit. That's something that I'm sure everybody in Dothan's going to enjoy," Nick says.

And hopefully it's the recipe for success for Nick.

Reporter: Melissa McKinney