The idea is to attract investors using the federal Opportunity Zone designation for the area.

The property is owned by businessman Thom Holt who estimated a $15 million budget for the project.

The federally designated zones stretch from a point just south of Darlington Drive off U.S. 27 south through downtown, between the rivers, north to John Davenport Drive and west out the north side of Shorter Avenue to Sycamore Street.

Investors can pool money, typically the result of capital gains, into a qualified opportunity zone investment fund. The law requires that 90 percent of the fund has to be invested in the opportunity zone. If they hold the investment for a designated period of time, little, or no taxes are owed on the original capital gain.

"That's huge," Holt said.

Mike Lovely said the plan is for 97 apartments on the three upper floors of the development with 11 retail spaces on the ground level.  There is sufficient under-story space out of the weather for 127 parking spots. Lovely said the concept promotes precisely the kind of walkable urbanism that city leaders are looking for in the so-called River District of downtown Rome.

Holt told City manager Sammy Rich that he would ask for angular parking off Avenue A pushing the construction footprint back over that down slope of nearly 14 feet behind the old homes that currently sit off the lots creating an almost natural subsurface parking lot.

The property runs about 350 feet along Avenue A, each lot about 100 feet back off the street. Holt said he had first right of refusal on three adjacent lots.

"The location is probably one of the most prime locations in town for the renter," said Mike Lovely. "It's within walking distance of such an enormity of restaurants, banks, the hospital and grocery stores. You can park your car and forget about it."

Lovely said that 60 percent occupancy would be a breakeven point. He estimated that rent for the apartment units would run from $765 a month for a one-bedroom to $1,280 for a three-bedroom.  His design includes a slightly different plan for what might be considered upscale fourth floor units which would command a higher rent.

Holt said he already had some interest for some of the retail spaces, including the bakery that is currently putting into a rock building that would be taken down during the second phase of the development which would include another four-story building at the intersection of Avenue A and Fifth Avenue.

A third phase of the development, which is not on paper at this time, would go on lots behind the properties that face both Avenue A and Fifth Avenue.