BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Big changes are planned for a long-time shopping area in Birmingham, as Crestwood Festival Center was sold to new ownership last month.

President of CityWide Properties Steven Verstandig says the location could become a prime destination spot for Birmingham with proper management and the right tenants

CityWide Properties acquired the shopping center in August with plans to invest $1.5 million in capital upgrades. Verstandig says the shopping center will soon have an improved façade and new parking lot. For now, they are focused on cleaning the property and doubling security.

“You have a good influx of people,” said Verstandig. “The goal is to keep them there and keep them shopping and make them feel comfortable with having their kids walk around the center and that’s why safety is always number one.”

Verstandig tells CBS 42 that before their purchase, the shopping center was a simple case of neglect and poor management.

In just under a month, Verstandig says he has filled three of 15 vacancies and is working with the city to fill the rest. 

“You have growth,” said Verstandig. “You have, you know, an area that’s only getting better and as long as I go ahead and reach out to small businesses and work with them, like I said, there’s not a doubt in my mind that that shopping center will be 100% full within the next 12-18 months.”

Double Beauty is one of the new businesses. Co-owner Imari Anderson says Crestwood is the perfect location for them especially with the new improvements.

“It’s just presentable, you know, like even the outside no trash everywhere,” said Anderson. “I feel like it looks presentable to the customer. I’d be like, ‘I’m going in here. Let’s see what’s in here.’ So, you know, I love it. I love the things that the new owners are doing. So, I’m excited. I’m excited to see what’s in store actually.”

Verstandig says Citywide is looking forward to showing true results and plans to invest further in other Birmingham properties in the future.