MENOMINEE - Going, going, nearly gone. Nearly all 44 units in the new Lloyd House I project on 1st Street in Menominee have been spoken for. Tammy Shega, Upper Michigan property manager for KMG Prestige, said just a few apartment units remain.

"There are a number of units we are setting aside for victims of domestic abuse if they need shelters and we have some barrier frees for those who need them," she said. "If they are not rented or there is no interest shown by April 1, then I can rent them to the general population also."

Over the past several months the former FNT Building has undergone extensive transformations inside and out. The facade has been fully restored to its original late 1920s look, new windows are in place and there's been a complete internal revamping of the former retail store/factory into modern apartments. The building that sat silently rotting away for decades is being brought back to life by the Woda Group through grants from the state of Michigan.

The excitement and need for the project was evidenced by the number of people applying for the limited number of low-to-moderate income apartments. With a planned opening date of April 1, time is ticking to screen applicants for both financial eligibility as well as conducting criminal background checks.

"There's always a last-minute shuffle, there's people who can't take the apartment, change their mind or people who don't pass the screening," said Shega. "We can take from that pool and fit them in depending on their income. We're not going to let anyone in who hasn't got a clean record."

The retail space on the ground floor has already been spoken for but neither Woda nor the city has released the identity of what businesses will be going in just yet.

The massive building in the heart of the city's downtown is bustling with contract workers preparing the apartments for occupancy. Electricians, plumbers, carpenters and others are all rushing to beat the April 1 deadline, while at the same time making sure the quality of workmanship is maintained. Shega and Kelly Beach, also with KMG Prestige, have been taking prospective renters up to see their apartments this week.

"It's a construction zone. They've cleaned it up, it's safe," said Shega. "The carpet and appliances are in so they do get a good picture of what it's going to be like."

Shega, herself, said she's quite taken by the whole thing. She first saw the building when it was in near complete disrepair.

"I am very touched by it. The conversations I have with the people who have applied, some of them worked there. I'm pretty wrapped up in it," she said. "Not only do I think it has evolved, I just think it's wonderful people will be living there. Wait until you see it."

Residents moving in will be asked to sign a one-year lease and then can go month-by-month after that. Unlike HUD housing where rent is approximately 30 percent of income, the state sets the rent and it is spread out over three categories. Once all the units are filled, Shega said she expects there will be quite a few people on a waiting list to get in.

The Lloyd House is currently seeking a part-time site manager who would be responsible to patrolling the building, keeping track of lease violations, collecting rent, helping people move in, work on compliance and market the units. The deadline for applications is March 3.

Just south of the Lloyd House is a two-story brick building at the corner of 1st Street and 9th Avenue called the Oddfellow Building. The Woda Group is also interested in developing that property and plans to seek a blight grant from the state to make it feasible.

"It is now a stand-alone project. It will be Lloyd House II," said Nancy Douglas, director of the Menominee Business Development Corp. "We're beginning to work with the state in packaging it in a very different way than the first building. It appears it will be market rate apartments on the upper floors with commercial on the bottom floor."