JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS)—For nearly two decades the ten story Hayes hotel in the heart of downtown Jackson has remained vacant, but city leaders say the time for redevelopment is now.

“Momentum is on our side,” said Public Information Officer for the City of Jackson.

This comes after the city says private investors helped bring more than 100 million dollars into downtown over the last five years. Growth that’s brought dozens of new restaurants and shops. It’s progress leaders want to take inside this once crown jewel to help it reclaim its place as the heart of the city.

“What we really want to do here is have an opportunity for a mixed-use space, so the first couple of floors restaurants and shops and upper floors things like a hotel and apartments,” said Dimick.

With a hope that turning this forgotten space into something new will bring a big boost to the economy and to downtown.

“When you bring that back online with a ten-story building it’s almost like dropping a new 10 story building in the middle of Jackson,” said Dimick.

Right now, the city owns the 100,000 square foot building. However, for this renovation to really come true they’re going to need help with funding. That’s why the Jackson Anchor Initiative got involved. They are the team behind many of the recent developments like the smart energy district. The group will help search and select a developer to step-in and take over the project.

“It’s going to be a very nice development. All of the developers all agree that they want to keep the retail space on the first floor and restaurant and possibly a ball room because for weddings. We don’t have a lot of venues downtown for weddings and things like that,” said CEO of the Anchor Initiative, Scott Fleming.

No deal is settled yet, a twelve-team panel of business leaders in the community will go through all plans and make a final decision. The final day to submit a proposal is October 1st.