The intersection of Elizabeth and Washington streets in Charleston's East End has undergone a dramatic transformation over the last decade.
The Bluegrass Kitchen opened in 2005, and neighboring Tricky Fish and Little India opened in 2008 and 2010, respectively.
In 2011, new streetlights and illuminated street signs were installed at the intersection as part of a replacement project around the Capitol building.
Events like HallowEast and the St. Patrick's Day Pub Crawl, both organized by East End Main Street, have brought hundreds of people to Washington and Elizabeth streets.
But two sore spots remain, the New China building at 1599 Washington St. E., and the building across Elizabeth Street, at 1601 Washington St. E.
While the New China building has yet to find a tenant, plans are in the works to return 1601 Washington St. E. back into a viable home for business and residents.
The New China building has been vacant for about a decade, and the "For Rent" sign in the building's window doesn't appear to be coming down any time soon.
"The demand is there, but it takes two to make it happen," said East End Main Street Executive Director Ric Cavender.
For years, CURA officials and East End Main Street have been trying to get the building filled, but negotiations between prospective tenants and the building's owner, Phillip Chin, keep falling through.
"Four different entrepreneurs were interested in the space and couldn't get a deal worked out," Cavender said.
Most recently, Chris Chaber, owner of the Empty Glass on Elizabeth Street, announced plans in the spring of 2012 to lease the building for use as a live music venue, particularly for bands that attract larger crowds.
Chaber's request to serve alcohol at the New China building under a conditional use permit from the city was approved, and it appeared the building would see life once again.
But, that deal fell through. Chaber couldn't be reached for comment for this story.
Before that, Chuck Hamsher, owner of the Purple Moon downtown, said in 2010 he was planning to open an art gallery in the building along with space for conferences and classes. The deal was nixed later that year after Hamsher said Chin's contractors failed to meet a number of deadlines for renovation work.
The building got its namesake from the New China Restaurant, which moved to the location in 1971 and closed in 2001, according to Daily Mail archives. When the restaurant closed, it was owned by Dickie and Delcie Chin.
The restaurant's owners filed their last annual report for the restaurant with the West Virginia Secretary of State's office in 2003. Their business license was revoked in 2004.
The New China building has been a thorn in CURA's side for years. In the late 2000s, CURA threatened to force a buyout of the building if Phillip Chin did not make a specific number of renovations to the building. The buyout would have been permitted under the East End Community Renewal Plan.
After missing several deadlines, Chin finally completed the renovations, his attorney said in 2010.
CURA Director Jim Edwards confirmed that most improvements CURA requested were made.
Cavender said despite the fact that the building remains empty, the renovations at least improved the building's appearance.
"I'm really proud of the partnership we have with CURA and the work we did to assist the owner of that building," he said. "We did as much as we possibly could."
Unlike the New China building, 1601 Washington St. E. appears to have a brighter immediate future.
CURA will likely take ownership of that building once the property emerges from bankruptcy court proceedings, something Edwards said could happen "any day now."
The building was built in the early 20th Century, Edwards said. Storefronts and retail space are on the first floor, and the second floor was most recently used for apartment space.