The aging brick buildings along Bedford's railroad tracks have a lot of potential in the eyes of Dave McCormack.
"This particular corridor of old warehouses, connected so closely to downtown, could really lend itself to a nice multi-use development," said McCormack, who is working to make his vision a reality.
As WDBJ7 first reported in March 2013, McCormack is converting the old Frank Chervan building on Jackson Street into a loft apartment complex. Construction is nearing competition and the apartments are scheduled to open in September.
When residents move in, McCormack hopes the apartments will spark even more development in the empty buildings nearby.
"I don't think we're going to wind up with a little New York City here or anything, but I do think there's some great potential for these buildings," McCormack said. "They're very unique. They're very well kept up."
Economic leaders say McCormick is filling a void. His new apartments offer housing that's previously been hard to find in Bedford.
"Very modern, high-end apartments are going to be very attractive to a lot of young professionals, and also some retirees who find that type of lifestyle attractive," said Traci Blido, Bedford County's director of economic development.
Blido believes McCormick's lofts will be a magnet for people who work in Lynchburg and Roanoke.
"Bedford is right in the middle," Blido said. "It's this charming community that they can live in."
If demand picks up, McCormick will be ready.
He already owns a second building next to the loft complex, where he envisions more housing and possibly some commercial development.
He also has an interest in buying and redeveloping the Bedford Middle School property when students move to a new campus later this decade.
For now though, he's focused on the Frank Chervan building.
"Sucess here to us, in this particular project, means a nice occupancy at rents we hope to get," McCormack said. "From there we can build on that."
32 apartments will be available in McCormack's building. Each unit will rent for around $750 per-month.
McCormack is working with a leasing agent to start recruiting tenants.