WINSTON-SALEM -- A historic downtown Winston-Salem building, that's been vacant for years, has been sold.

Officials say a Georgia company's bought the Pepper Building and plans to turn it into a hotel.

The Downtown Deli, across the street from the Pepper Building, is a landmark in downtown Winston-Salem.

"We’ve been open 28 years, longer than anybody,’’ said co-owner Scott Nifong.

And like others, he's glad to hear the news that another downtown landmark is finally going to be renovated.

The Art Deco structure of the building was constructed in the late 20s and housed a furniture company, offices and the Sir Winston restaurant.

"I think it's been at least 15 years since there's been any real occupancy in the building,’’ said Winston-Salem City Council member Jeff MacIntosh.

The signs are visible. There is peeling paint and other damage on the outside, along with a gutted wall inside.

MacIntosh says a boutique hotel's now planned for the space.        

"I think the exciting thing to people is that this helps fill in a vacant area, or a feeling that there's a ghost town right in the center of the city," said MacIntosh

It'll follow in the footsteps of Kimpton, that bought and renovated the iconic Reynolds Building into a hotel and restaurant.

Nearby, the old Forsyth County Courthouse had also been renovated into condos.

While the city's always had tourism from places like nearby Old Salem, this latest development could signal a new era sparked by the vitality of downtown redevelopment and the variety of the attractions, including restaurants, brewpubs, the arts and other entertainment.

"That, to me, is a real signal that a corner has been turned and that we do have, we have enough going on to bring people to town,’’ said MacIntosh.

Other things are in the works such as the merger of the Childrens' Museum and Sciworks into the old Sheriff's Office Building and the expansion of the park next to the Pepper Building.

Other nearby businesses like Deli hope to cash in from the changes.

"I think it's good that downtown is headed in the right direction. It's got a little ways to go, but it's heading in the right direction, and I'm looking forward to it," said Nifong.