By Terri Ferguson Smith / email@example.com
The Meridian Star
Renovations on the old BellSouth building in Meridian are expected to get under way next week to prepare the building to be converted into a 27-unit apartment building. A groundbreaking is scheduled for today at 10 a.m. at the building located at the corner of 23 Avenue and 7th Street.
Clarence Chapman, president of Chartre Companies Ltd., which is building the apartments, said they have just recently received permits for demolition work on the interior and they are working on a couple of environmental issues.
"We're looking forward to getting this into play," Chapman said. "We would hope to be fully under way with construction by the middle of June."
Chapman said there will be one-bedroom efficiencies, two-bedroom units, larger one-bedroom units as well as a physical fitness center.
The building was originally constructed to house the Cumberland Telephone and Telegraph Service around the turn of the 20th Century. It was later owned by BellSouth. The building will now be called Cumberland Terrace.
As far as the demolition work is concerned, Chapman said the building is relatively open on the inside, but it has some old group restrooms that will have to go, a tremendous amount of old wiring and some steel pipes that will be taken out.
Charter's investment in the project is likely to range between $3.75 million and $4.5 million, he said.
Chapman said some people are already inquiring about the apartments.
"We've got several people who want to pick out the first few units," Chapman said. "With the location and the amenities, we think we're taking a good risk. You've got a market in Meridian that appears wholesome."