“Is construction on these projects ever going to start?”
That’s a question routinely posed to Southport Redevelopment Commission President Duane Langreck, who responds, “Yes, just practice a little more patience.”
Visible signs of redevelopment should be evident in a couple of months with the start of work on The Villas at the Plaza, a 93-unit, three-story apartment complex for senior citizens at the site of the former Davidson Industries property in the 2100 block of East Southport Road. The complex will feature some retail shops on the ground floor and will serve as the new home of Perry Senior Services, now housed at the Southport Community Center.
Across the street, the former Gerdt facility is now known as Southport Station. Randy Faulkner owns the building, which is being renovated to house Randy Faulkner Enterprises and Renaissance Electronic Services, a data processing company that processes dental insurance claims. Renaissance is expected to have 70 employees by year’s end, with that number doubling in three years, according to Langreck.
Most of the old concrete business behind Southport Station will be demolished for a parking lot.
The old post office has been purchased by Matt and Jessica Lineberry, who need to expand their Sophia’s Bridal, Tux & Prom store, which is located at 7015 S. U.S. 31. Renovation should begin in April, with a grand opening in July. The couple said they plan to use 15 full-time employees and 30-35 seasonal employees.
“We are bringing jobs to the city,” McClure said. “We just need some nice restaurants.”
Another development includes Falam Baptist Church behind the former Acropolis Restaurant & Lounge at 1625 E. Southport Road.
Langreck said the project is more than just renovating buildings. “We want to make Southport a community for life. We are not there yet ... and we have a way to go ... but we have come a long way.”