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Old City Hall "North" building downtown set for multi-million dollar transformation

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Another historic landmark in downtown Mobile is about to get a makeover.

Plans are in the works to transform the old city hall “north" building, into about 70 upscale, contemporary apartment units.

First to get the ball rolling the city council has to approve the sale.

They plan to vote on it next week and if approved, the abandoned building will be sold to developers for about $550,000.

"We're hoping for about 70 apartment units," said Stephen McNair, the historic preservation consultant for the Seaman's Club project.

This building was once used as a meeting place for seamen visiting the port of Mobile. Later it became city hall "north". Now it's an eyesore sitting at the corner of St. Joseph and Water streets. But that's about to change with a multi-million dollar makeover that ACS Studio Architecture out of Houston is planning.

"And with that is going to come a new commercial establishment in the parking lot, a new parking area, a dog park, rooftop amenities and we expect that to be completed sometime middle of 2018," said McNair.

The news comes about a week before Meridian at the Port next door plans to hold its groundbreaking ceremony.

Also set for Water street, this $51 million project will feature 267 apartments.

And just two weeks ago, city leaders announced another big downtown housing project called Merchants Plaza: The plan is to transform the area surrounding the old Merchants National Bank building into a complex full of restaurants, apartments and office space.

So why so much investment in downtown now?

"I think there's a trend because people are finally believing in Mobile. They're believing that people want to live in downtown and there's a demand for it," said McNair.

The Seaman's Club project here will even feature a stand-alone coffee shop.

Developers say they hope to take advantage of both state and federal historic tax credits.

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