LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB NEWS) -- It was in horrible condition and in danger of collapsing.
But in a little more than a year, the 132 year old building will soon be a major downtown attraction.
Giant temporary steel bracing is now holding up the Fort Nelson building at 8th and Main Streets.
"The bracing is there because the wall leans toward the street," explains Merrill Moter of the Louisville architect firm of Joseph and Joseph.
Construction workers finished erecting the bracing on Friday.
The work has forced the closing of 8th and Main Streets between River Road and Main for more than six months.
The bracing process began last spring and is part of the restoration of the building that was built in 1880 and used primarily as a warehouse.
Now crews will be able to move inside and safely begin work there.
The four story building has been vacant for more than 40 years and is in very bad shape.
"The flooring is gone," says Moter, "some of the joists are still there but even some of them are rotted; there are no stairs to the upper level and the roof is in bad shape."
Michter's Distillery is spending more than $7 million to transform the building into a small distillery that will serve as a major Main Street tourist attraction.
"All of the distillery processes will happen in this building," says Moter, "all the way from cooking the mash, fermenting it, distilling it, aging it, and bottling it."
The steel brace will remain in place for about a year.
The distillery is expected to open late next year or early 2014.
Moter says it will be a terrific addition to Main Street.
The fence now blocking 8th Street will soon come down and one lane of the street will reopen in a few weeks.