The nonprofit Metanoia Community Development Corp. will open a new youth entrepreneurship center Thursday in a once-vacant building that had been sheltering drug dealers and other illegal activity.

Metanoia staff and volunteers have spent three years renovating a 5,000-square-foot building at 2021 Reynolds Ave. that was built in the 1940s as retail space but had been shuttered since the mid-1990s.

Metanoia works to invest in economic development, affordable housing and student leadership in the Chicora-Cherokee community of North Charleston. This building marks a key revitalization, said the Rev. Bill Stanfield, Metanoia's founder and CEO.

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey will officiate the opening at 4 p.m.

The Youth Entrepreneurship and Volunteer Center will house Metanoia's high school Civic Leaders program which develops youth leadership with a focus on entrepreneurship.

On the first floor, Civic Leaders will run two businesses - the students' already established screen printing and jewelry making. The second floor will be used by out-of-town youth volunteer groups. The space includes dormitories for 20 volunteers, separate bedrooms for chaperones and a full kitchen and dining area.

Plans for 2015 include a new cafe on the street level, which will be run by Metanoia's high school student participants.

For more, call 529-3014 or go to pushingforward.org.