NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s a labor of love seven years in the making.

Originally built in 1915, the Berkowitz is a 25,000-square-foot building that had sat vacant in New Britain for two decades. But now, after a $4.5 million makeover, it is fully restored.

It wasn’t the easiest undertaking, according to developer Douglas Bromfield, who owns Capital Restoration.

“This has been like a tiger,” he said.

The building’s entire rear had collapsed and needed to be rebuilt. Capital Restoration preserved historic features, including the entire back façade.

The company used historic tax credits from the state and private funding for the project, which will include retail space on the bottom floor and 24 apartments. Studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units will be available.

The Berkowitz will open right after the new year. Rental prices have not been set.

The site, located at Little Poland and Broad Street, is about a quarter of a mile away from CTfastrak.

“It just makes it incredibly attractive, especially for those who might not need a car to get around,” New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart said.

Stewart said the project will help ease the city’s housing crunch. She said that the city will have 350 new apartments to the downtown marketplace within the next few years.

The Berkowitz’s second phase will be up Broad Street, where a parking lot will become 28 apartments.

“We’re bringing in a whole new genre of people, working individuals who might not be married with families who are, you know, young professionals,” Stewart said.