There's not a lot of blood pumping through the heart of Bedford these days.
The large industrial buildings in the center of town, once buzzing with manufacturing, have been empty for years.
"Those buildings might not lend themselves to that activity that was there before," said Bart Warner, Bedford's assistant city manager.
Warner and other city leaders have been trying to find a new use for the old properties. They changed the zoning ordinance ten years ago, to allow certain buildings to be used for housing.
That move is finally paying off. A developer is planning to build 32 loft apartments in the old Frank Chervan building on Jackson Street.
"It's certainly a new concept for Bedford," said Sue Montgomery, executive director of Bedford Main Street, Inc. "People here have historically thought they needed to live on some acreage out in the county somewhere."
Montgomery believes loft apartments will give Bedford something it desperately needs.
"There's definitely a shortage of opportunity for that type of housing," Montgomery said.
The apartments will allow people to live within walking distance of downtown.
"A lot of my clientele is foot traffic," said Joe Marino, who expects the lofts to bring more customers to his Ivy Bridge Cafe and his soon-to-open frozen yogurt business on North Bridge Street.
"They can just walk out, walk the loop, get some frozen yogurt," Marino said.
The urban lifestyle provided by loft living is something city leaders hope will catch on and prove to be popular.
David McCormack, the developer who's renovating the Frank Chervan building, owns several other industrial buildings nearby.
"I think it's fair to say that, depending on the success of this project, (McCormack) might pursue other things," said Warner.
To ensure the project's success, the city is making some infrastructure improvements. Sidewalks and storm drains are being replaced, to make the area more attractive.
Combine that with the new residents who are moving in, and the heart of the city may finally get its pulse back.