The Village of Waterloo is taking an initiative to revitalize its downtown area.

"Trying to revitalize an area that for a lot of years, as for many of this small villages have been, harmed by what was going on in the economy," said Waterloo Village Administrator Dan Northrup.

He explains they have visions of new apartments and adding more retail space downtown to make the area more attractive for residents and visitors.

"We got a lot of things going for us and we are trying to tie it all together," said Northrup.

At the center of the revitalization effort - transforming the former Moore's Furniture Building, built in the 1890s, into a brand new Waterloo Art Center. 

The village called in students from the University of Cornell Design Connect program to create the concept, and Brooklyn Firm Madison HNJ to make it reality.

"Sacrificing a little bit of that space but then puncturing the 2nd or 3rd floor to create an open atrium so when you walk you have more of that dramatic effect and also being connected from the ground floor all the way to the third floor," said Grace Cheng, a member of the Cornell's Design Connect program.

"Whatever your art is, we wanted to have a space to accommodate your art and allow you to showcase and create your art," said Alex Teller of Madison HNJ.

Mayor Jack O'Connor and Northrup believe the Waterloo Art Center will play an integral role in revitalizing downtown because its at the heart of the community.

"We want this area to be unique and I think we are on the right track to do so. We just need to keep going forward," said Mayor O'Connor.

"What's important is that when we create this walkable downtown that we are looking at. You really have to have something that says if you get off at the canal, there's something that pulls you towards and connects the two. This would be ideal for doing that," added Northrup.