FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The City of Fort Wayne is celebrating the next era for the historic coca-cola bottling plant. They’re turning the building into 31 rental units called Bottle Works Lofts.

Bottle Works Lofts is a project idea that’s been seven years in the making. The $14.5 million dollar development includes the rehabilitation of this historic building.

31 affordable rental units are being constructed inside this historic Coca-Cola Bottle plant at 1631 E. Pontiac St. It will include an on-site management office, community room, business center, media room, fitness center, outdoor shelter and indoor and outdoor playgrounds. The housing development also includes 19 lease to purchase single family homes, each with a detached garage.

Those homes will be located throughout the Renaissance Pointe neighborhood. Mayor Tom Henry is proud of the project.

“Most people want to have adequate housing,” he said. “Home ownership means so much to a person’s pride and pride and to dignity.”

6th District Councilman Glynn Hines likes it as well.

“The [southeast] citizens need to see progress,” he said. “[There’s] all this talk about downtown development, riverfront development, [but the] southeast has been slow and this is a step in the right direction so the citizens can see an improved quality of life alternatives.”

But he said there needs to be more growth in the Southeast.

“We talked about housing, but if you asked me what is it that you really need, I think we need businesses,” he continued. “We have plenty of housing, but we don’t have grocery stores. We don’t have big box stores where we don’t have to drive way north or way west. If you ask me my honest opinion.”

Mayor Henry believes such positive momentum is building.

“But this whole area I think is really beginning to experience a resurgence of activity,” he said. “It’s all in an effort to let everybody know that all of our city means something. That no sector of our city is going to be left out of investment.”

Mayor Tom Henry, Miller Valentine officials, representatives from Vincent Village and Renaissance Pointe neighborhood residents hosted the ground breaking this morning.

The project will include affordable housing units rented to individuals of varying incomes, earning anywhere from 30% to 60% of the area median income. The Coca-Cola building project was a recipient of the Lieutenant Governor Office’s 2016 low-income housing tax credits.

The rental units in the Bottle Works Lofts are expected to be complete by the end of 2018. The single family homes should be complete by Fall 2018.