MATTHEWS, N.C. (WJZY) – Abandoned and empty.

Matthews is known for its growing downtown and small-town feel. There’s been a transformation happening there over the last few years. But there’s now an eyesore, right in the middle of everything. It’s been there for months, with many people wondering — what’s going on?

There’s a question Stacey Waters, with ZABS Place, asks every one of the people she hires.

“The first question we ever ask them, what is your dream? We try to get them to their dream,” said Stacy.

They’ve been in the heart of Matthews, off of Trade and John, for the last eight years. They’re a unique store that trains people with special needs and helps them find their dream job.

“We’re family,” said Stacy.

While their store is stocked with pretty and interesting items, across the street is a view they’d rather not see.

“It’s very empty, kind of an eyesore for the little town of Matthews,” said Stacy.

Off of Trade Street is an abandoned, boarded-up old gas station with graffiti. Grass has overgrown the parking lot, caution tape is around some areas of it, and wires are sticking up out of the ground.

“If feel like it’s a void — missing in the community. We need something there,” said Dericus Scott, with Standing Ovation Barbershop.

“It’s very lively, then there’s a dead spot. Then you come out here and it’s lively. It’s just a gap,” said Dericus.

It’s not just one dead spot, but two.

“So both corners had gas stations,” said Stacy.

Across the street from the abandoned gas station is an empty, overgrown lot.

“Not a nice view,” said Stacy.

WJZY asked city officials, what was going on. They told us, they’re private properties. But, once we pointed out some of the issues, they asked the company that owns the gas station to clean up the graffiti. Then, code enforcement came out and ticketed the owner of the other lot for having overgrown grass.

People in the area said that’s great that some cleanup is being done. But what about the future?

“I’m excited about what’s going to be my neighbor in the area,” said Dericus.

The empty lot will be transformed into a retail and restaurant space. Owners said that construction is supposed to start this week. They had applied for a permit in October of 2021 and just got it approved in the week of July 19.

As for the abandoned gas station, that building is still up for lease. But, Stacy has an idea. Maybe a new business that’s looking to hire some talented people.

“So, we would like other places to be able to accept our talent and hire them on- so they can make a paycheck and have a career,” said Stacy.