MOUNT PLEASANT, NC (WBTV) - It's been several things over the years, a livery, general store, there was even an old well found on the property of what was most recently a textile and hosiery mill, but now the most recognizable building in Mt. Pleasant is being transformed into a restaurant and economic engine for the community.
"We launched into it and it kind of snowballed and got to be a bigger project than we thought," said Developer Doctor Allen Dobson.
The has always been the centerpiece of the town, and thanks to the work being done here now, it is once again the talk of the town.
"They're restoring the old mill and we're going to get a restaurant, sports bar, patio seating, like an upscale dining, hopefully an event center upstairs," said local business owner Darlene Brown.
That's what doctor Dobson plans to do on the property. He says the finished project will be called 73 & Main and will offer four experiences in the same building. And it was also about the restoration of a building to the way it appeared in 1911.
Town leaders say the project fits well with what citizens expressed as their desire for the property and the downtown area in a recent public survey.
"We received over 600 survey responses," said Town Planner Erin Burris. "Respondents stated that restaurants are the most crucial use for a successful downtown. Restaurants were also the primary feature that respondents said would make them want to spend more time in downtown Mount Pleasant. They also noted that parking availability was one of the biggest problems in downtown. So, with the restaurant and parking lot projects, two of the most desired attributes for downtown are being addressed.
Local shop owners and folks working nearby are pretty excited about it.
"It's also great that they're using the hosiery mill, using old history and bringing it back to life," said Kassy Haigler who works at Moose Pharmacy.
It's also bringing life to the town. A new 52 space public parking lot is being built on Main Street. That was already planned, but the timing was perfect to go with the restaurant, and developers are now looking at some of the other downtown buildings, spurred by the excitement created on the corner.
"We're hoping to bring new people to Mount Pleasant and hopefully people that normally go to Albemarle or Concord would stop here in Mount Pleasant," Brown added.
"This community is very very small but we're also thriving…new apartments coming in, I think this will be great for this community," Haigler said.
Dr. Dobson says all the excitement around the project has really taken him by surprise, but he's hopeful that the project will appeal to the locals, as well as become a destination spot.
"We can cater to Mt. Pleasant, but also people who would like to come to a cool historic building, have great food, and experience a cool little town."
The target opening date for 73 & Main is December 15.