SPRINGFIELD, Ga. (WTOC) - The former Walt’s Furniture building in downtown Springfield has sat empty since it closed its doors in 2013.
Now after years of work the city now believes they’ve found the right person to bring it back to life.
Of course, if you’ve driven through downtown Springfield you’ve probably seen it.
Although at the same time it doesn’t really catch your eye.
If you take a look inside the old Walt’s Furniture, putting it bluntly, it’s a mess.
But, that’s not what the City of Springfield saw, instead they see it as a solution.
“We have people that want to come downtown, but we don’t have enough space for them and that’s one thing this development is going to provide,” said Springfield Community Development Director Erin Phillips.
The City has been working to bring life back into the building since 2017.
An effort that Phillips says saw its fair share of trial and error.
“After the bypass moved out of town the traffic did as well so Springfield has had to try and re-identify itself and figure out what business can thrive downtown.”
JoAnn’s Florist and The Local on Laurel are two of the businesses that have found a way to do that.
As it turns out the man behind both of them, James Carlson, had a problem of his own.
“We’ve been in business for going on eleven years and our business has grew tremendously and we needed more space,” said Carlson.
Space, the one thing the old Walt’s has plenty of.
The city naturally couldn’t help but notice Carlson’s prior success.
“He’s got a good eye for what looks aesthetically pleasing in downtown,” said Phillips.
So, with that it was a match made in paradise, or, in an old run-down furniture store.
As for what may one day call the large space home, “We’re going to focus a majority on retail. We’re going to have some incubator offices that are in the works for private offices and business to be able to come in and possibly some medical that would come in,” said Carlson.
When can you expect to see a final product?
“Well our goal is for August 2020, so that’s when we’re looking to be complete,” Carlson said.
Leaving them with plenty of work to before then.
But work Carlson says he wouldn’t want to do anywhere else.
“We wanted to stay local. We love Springfield. Springfield is our heart.”