Developer Michael Zamagias swings a sledgehammer for the ceremonial wallbreaking to start renovations to the Keppel Building.

About 50 people gathered in downtown Lancaster's Keppel Building today for the ceremonial start of its $9 million revitalization.

A Pittsburgh-based developer, Zamagias Properties, is converting the vacant, condemned building into 38 apartments plus office and retail space.

The conversion of the historic structure at 323 N. Queen St., once home to Keppel Candy Co., is expected to be completed by year-end.

Today's event follows news Friday that $7 million in New Markets Tax Credits have been approved for the venture.

To mark the beginning of the project, Zamagias Properties Chief Executive Officer Michael Zamagias and Mayor Rick Gray wielded sledgehammers for a ceremonial wallbreaking.