Project to put 50-plus new apartments in hard-hit part of downtown

photo Vic Desai, principal for ViaNova Development, stands on the roof of the former Clemons Bros. furniture building at 730 Chestnut St. Desai's plans for a 55-unit apartment building, and first-floor retail project, is set to begin in December.

The Clemons• What: 50-plus unit apartment complex and retail space coming to downtown• Who: ViaNova Development: Vic Desai, Nirav Shah and Neil Kapadia, partners• Where: 730 Chestnut St., originally built for Clemons Bros. Complete House Furnishers and used later by BlueCross BlueShield for office space• When: Apartments and retail expected to open by fall 2015

photo Proposed apartments at 730 Chestnut St.

Through a square hole left by a missing ceiling tile, Vic Desai looked up and pointed out the nearly 100-year-old brick wall hiding behind the suspended ceiling and Sheetrock walls.