NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — It used to be the New Haven Clock Company, but now it’s a huge empty building and a crumbling eyesore many people see as they drive into New Haven. Now, the city plans to turn the building into affordable housing.

“I actually took a tour of the building maybe five to seven years ago,” Mayor Justin Elicker (D-New Haven) said. “A total mess inside, but huge, huge potential.”

Potential for maybe more than 100 apartments, the mayor said. The city’s housing authority approved a plan to buy it. The current owners had planned to clean it up and turn it into apartments but did not follow through or pay taxes.

“The site is not fully cleaned up,” Elicker said. “The city actually started foreclosure proceedings, which kind of forced the issue here, and therefore the developer ended up selling the property.”

The city is buying it for $4.5 million. The current owner still has to clean things up, including radiation from the clock dials. The building on Hamilton Street has been a lot of things over the years. It was the mid-19th century when the clock company first set up shop here. The building burned down and got rebuilt.

Then, most recently, it was Scores Gentleman’s Club. Neighboring businesses welcome the news about the change.

“I think it’s going to be a nice addition to the city of New Haven,” said Andrew Corey Greco, the owner of Goodcopy Printing, right across the street. “It’s going to really improve the area over here. It’s been a pretty rundown building for the last 25 years that I’ve been here.”

He said the nearby Mill River Crossing development is a significant improvement over the Farnam Court project that was there before.

“There’s a lot of pressure on the city right now and on the entire state of Connecticut to increase our housing options, particularly affordable housing,” Elicker said.

Affordable housing is precisely what the city wants to ensure these new units will be.