Downtown’s latest mixed-use development project began Friday at 227 N. Laura St. when new owner Ron Chamblin began cleaning out the three-story building next door to his Uptown Book Store and Café.
Chamblin said he’s restoring the two top floors to rental residential units and will maintain retail on the ground floor, now occupied by Gus & Co. Shoe Repair & Luggage Shoppe.
The first phase of the project began before dawn Friday when Chamblin and his crew began removing old furniture and appliances from the upper floors. Chamblin said one of his bookstore customers recalled living in one of the apartments in 1991, but before that date, the history of the upper floors is sketchy.
Chamblin has some experience renovating older Downtown buildings after converting the structure next door, which was a shell when he purchased it six years ago, into a 10,000-square-foot bookstore and café. He said it’s too soon to announce an opening date for the apartments, which will offer a view of Hemming Plaza.
“But I’ll have a new ‘for rent’ sign out here one day,” Chamblin said.