(11/14/12) - For downtown Saginaw business owners, you might say Christmas is coming early.
Nearly 500 employees will be working out of the AT&T building by Monday.
Two hundred are coming from the Bay Road office that was sold.
ABC12 News found out what that means for the economic picture downtown.
The business people we spoke to say they've been waiting for years to see new jobs and new faces in downtown Saginaw. That wait is over.
"I think downtown Saginaw is going to notice a huge growth spurt within the next two years," said Jeanie Naylor; the owner of Wally's Restaurant downtown.
You can see the signs of economic growth in downtown Saginaw - growth that's been a long time coming.
Naylor's restaurant on Washington is just across from the AT&T building. Nearly 300 employees are already working out of the office. More are coming.
Those are numbers that should make a positive impact on Naylor's bottom line - and others too.
"There's over 200 employees coming form our Bay Road Facility to downtown, and with that we'll have just under 500 employees at our downtown office, so a lot of people in downtown now and I'm sure the businesses and restaurants and small businesses and the banks are really going to see an increase from the employees that are going to be at that facility now," said Gavin Goetz, the director of external affairs with AT&T.
"We opened up in 2008 and it was really slow. It was probably last July, our sales have doubled and tripled. Due to the influx of employees coming into downtown," Naylor stated.
Dawn Goodrow Morrell owns a coffee shop on Washington. She's also on Saginaw's downtown development authority board. She expects to see more businesses coming here.
"It's something that we have been waiting for. The economic impact has been great. When there's more business downtown, there will be more coffee shops, more restaurants, more boutiques," she said.
Michigan Works is also moving employees into a downtown building.
Business owners say that's another positive sign that growth is coming to the area.