Fashion Cleaners has been a Dalton institution since 1962. But long-time customers have noticed some changes to the building at 201 W. Morris St.
After almost two years of work, owners Jackie Renfroe and her daughters Donna Findley and Karen Green have opened six apartments in the building, which they call Fashion Place.
"About a year and a half ago, we decided to send the cleaning off site," said Findley. "It was getting to be too much for my mom and my sister to handle. The maintenance was becoming an issue. It's hard to find people to work on the machinery. That freed up space, and it's when we decided to do the apartments."
Two years ago, the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government, working with the Downtown Dalton Development Authority (DDDA) and Believe Greater Dalton, developed a master plan for downtown that called for, among other things, more housing. Green said she attended the meeting where that plan was unveiled and came back with the idea to develop apartments in the building that housed the cleaners.
Green said they are targeting "young professionals, older people who are downsizing. People who want to be close to downtown, closer to the downtown restaurants."
There are four one-bedroom apartments and two two-bedroom apartments. The apartments range in size from about 750 square feet to about 1,000 square feet. The price range is $1,050 to $1,350 a month. The first tenant recently moved in.
"We've had a great response, a lot of calls," said Renfroe.
Five of the units are in the back of the building, and residents will park in the parking lot to the side of the building. The sixth apartment is in the front of the building and has a designated parking place just off the street.
"The other apartments (in the rear) will enter from the parking lot into a corridor," said Green. "That provides for privacy and security."
Renfroe said the cleaner's long-time customers have been excited to hear about the apartments.
"Everyone seems to like the idea," she said. "They've been asking about the work and when they will open."
DDDA Interim Director George Woodward said agency officials are excited to see the apartments now available for lease.
"We feel it is a great start (to bringing more housing to downtown)," he said.