STOCKTON, Calif. — For over two years, 1825 Pacific Avenue on Stockton's iconic Miracle Mile has sat empty.

But now, new life is being breathed into the building that houses an old theater and several spaces that once belonged to restaurants, a coffee house and more.

"I think it's great," Lisa Whirlow, owner of Whirlow's Restaurant and board member of the Miracle Mile Improvement District, said. "We're not quite there, but the south side of the building is almost ready to go condition. And, soon they'll be having signs up going for lease."

Catalyst Real Estate is one former tenant that will be moving back to its former location.

"This building is probably the most iconic building here on the Miracle Mile," Matthew Grizzle, the Interim Executive Director for the Miracle Mile Improvement District, said. "So, even though it only makes up about 10 or so businesses or 15 businesses, it makes up about 10 percent of the district because they were so well known it does make it important to the district."

Grizzle says he was told businesses will be moving in as early as the next few weeks.

RELATED: 

In June of 2017, city officials shut down the building, citing numerous violations. Officials said since 2012, the building owner, Christopher Bennitt, has been cited repeatedly for fire and building safety violations.

An agreement was signed by Bennitt with the city in October 2016 to give him 90 days to determine a plan to evaluate what it would take to correct the violations. However, the city says the agreement expired with no action taken by Bennitt.

Bennitt's attorney, Anthony Vignolo, argued in a letter to the city that it's "not whether there are violations at the property, but whether any of those violations include hazardous and dangerous conditions." 

"None of the alleged violations rise to such level," Vignolo wrote. Nonetheless, the city followed through on it's threat and closed the building.

Fast forward to today, with "available" signs posted, as one-by-one, spaces inside the building will soon be rented to occupants.

"Over the last year and a half, our building officials have actually met with the contractor and the architect and they've looked at the building and determined how it could possibly be addressed in sections," Connie Cochran, Stockton's Community Relations Officer, said. "So, that we can get people in there as quickly as possible and not taking on the whole project at once and that makes it more manageable."

Continue the conversation with Kurt on Facebook