Burned out and roofless: That’s one sadsack row of buildings at 119 W. Parrish and 119-121 W. Main streets. (They are near Corcoran, for you development trackers at home).

But something is stirring in this block, besides the rats that have hunkered down in the detritus for the winter. Early next year Austin Lawrence Partners will gut the structures, rebuild the innards and save the facades. If the project goes according to plan, it will become retail space.

I can’t wait to see what the demolition crew will unearth. There is an upright piano inside the building at 121 W. Main. And of course, the tree growing in the middle of 119 W. Parrish will have to go, and the tattered screen that years ago evoked romanticized images of “downtown Durham.” It has been shredded by the elements; it’s now abbreviated “owntown Durham.” As in who owns Durham, perhaps?