Joe Ley Antiques (BS File Photo)
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Joe Ley Antiques (BS File Photo)
Joe Ley Antiques. (Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

Just days after declaring that Nulu has officially “landed,” there’s another sign that the neighborhood east of Downtown is poised to grow. Joe Ley Antiques at 615 East Market Street isn’t going anywhere, but Joe Ley is considering the future of his three building antique complex.  He explains, “With all of the changes being planned for East Market Street, it is time for me to develop a plan to enhance my buildings.”

Joe Ley Antiques and Billy Goat Strut (BS File Photo)
Joe Ley Antiques and Billy Goat Strut. (Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

Ley has hired Village Solutions to develop a long term strategic plan for the property. Rick Hill, president of Village Solutions, said the future of the site is wide open and the brainstorming process is just beginning. Ley asked him to take a look at the existing property and figure out what is possible for the site.

Hill, whose company created the strategic plan for the Service Welding block including Creation Gardens directly east, says connectivity will be emphasized. Like the concept plan at both the Creation Gardens site and at Gill Holland’s planned farmers’ market on Jefferson Street, reuse of the alleyways is strongly considered. Hill said Billy Goat Strut could provide a great pedestrian texture to the area and activate an otherwise underutilized space.

Joe Ley Antiques Before Joe Ley (via NRHP)
Joe Ley Antiques Before Joe Ley. (via NRHP)

Whatever plan is developed will retain the historical significance of the site dating to 1890. According to JCPS, the main Joe Ley building was originally built as the Louisville Normal School which later relocated to East Broadway. The building remained an elementary school called the Hiram Roberts School after a former principal at the Normal School. After officially closing in 1966, the facility continued as a school for overflow students and was sold in 1972 to the Koch Glass Company.

Before Joe Ley acquired the building, the windows and even the front door had been boarded up and covered with stucco. As one of the first presences on East Market Street, Joe Ley Antiques will continue to be a neighborhood anchor and a regional draw for some of the most interesting antiques and architectural details around.

Joe Ley Antiques (BS File Photo)
Joe Ley Antiques. (Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)
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Branden Klayko

Branden Klayko

Founder and Editor at Broken Sidewalk
Branden founded Broken Sidewalk in 2008 while practicing architecture in Louisville. He continued the site for seven years while living in New York City, returning to Louisville in 2016. Branden is a graduate of the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, and has covered architecture, design, and urbanism for The Architect's Newspaper, Designers & Books, Inhabitat, and the American Institute of Architects.
Branden Klayko

15 COMMENTS

  1. Wow. It seems as though every week there’s news about NuLu… and I know there’s more to come. Some nice juicy news.

    Joe Ley is that kind of funky institution you know could use a shower, haircut, and new shirt… but you don’t want to see it totally disinfected and gentrified. I hope they do right by it.

    With the variety of businesses coming to the area, especially with Creation Gardens and the Market providing groceries, it seems more residential prospects are in order. Liberty Green becomes more appealing, The Church looks more appealing as a place to live… so what the devil is going on with Legacy Lofts? How did that project get blown so badly when all around it there is so much potential?

  2. Apparently the bank holding the loan on the Lofts refuses to deal with anyone interested in salvaging the project. I know at least one strong investor who was rebuffed.

  3. When will people figure out that there is no NuLu? These neighborhoods already have names. Our city already has a history. A history that shouldn’t be over written with some terrible name that investors have come up with to rip off New York neighborhoods. Why should Louisville being trying so hard to be some half rate recreation of NYC? We have history and a future, neither of which do we need to “sell out” by coming up with awful names like NuLu and SoBro. REALLY! That’s the kind of crap you’d expect out of high school kids that have never actually been to the places they are ripping off. It’s stunning that a site that supports Louisville and it’s history is so in bed with these names. I hoping that the developer of this site, now living in the city that we are ripping off, realizes the tackiness of what the Louisville developers are trying to pull off.

  4. Matt

    What would you call this area? East Market District? East Market & East Main District? West Butchertown?

  5. Like you Ken, I too think that "NuLu" is rather good. It is easy to say and easy to remember. Your boundaries are also the same as I would choose. This area reminds me more of Greenwich Village then any other Louisville area, but obviously that name would not be appropriate. NuLu is, in my judgment, the best area for a mix of residential and commercial. It is not "convention" or "sports" oriented as are the areas west of Floyd St. NuLu is "local" and "creative" which make it a special place. In coming years NuLu will be the place to visit and to live.

  6. Matt

    I agree that we do not need to fabricate a name, especially one that seems more NYC than Louisville, but what do you define as tackiness – the new Creation Gardens, the new restaurants, Legacy Lofts?

  7. I rather like ‘NuLu’ – despite its slightly plastic adspeak quality. It has become a useful shorthand for a strip of East Market, but will no doubt come to encompass a larger area – a nice square bounded by Wenzel, Jefferson (thus including the proposed farmers market), Hancock (nothing’s going to get people past that ugly overpass), and Main (the ‘flower and decor’ area: Boston’s, Digs, Bittner’s is sure to, uh, blossom with more activity and come to seem part of NuLu).

    It’s a newly created commercial section, not a historical one. As such, the business powers that be are going to create a name that is specific to that place and easy to remember and say. “East Market” will eventually be too specific (if you want to go New York, it could be EaMar, which sounds like that nerdy science teacher in ninth grade – or a car parts store). NuLu is more specific in area than Phoenix Hill. No one is going to say ‘Let’s go down to Phoenix Hill’ when they mean they want to eat at Social and check out Scout. Phoenix Hill encompasses a large area that no one really calls Phoenix Hill. Growing up in the 50s and 60s that area was ‘down by the stockyards.’ Phoenix Hill now means the Tavern, which is actually ON that hill.

    The thing about place names that stick – and this one will… it already has – is that they gain patina eventually. In 25 years NuLu will have that. History didn’t happen all in the past. It’s happening now.

  8. Why not call it the East Market District and then let cool people shorten the name so we could play SoHo in our own backyard.

  9. I explained my take on this particular neighborhood name battle in August over here along with a couple other good comments. There seems so be a good discussion going on now, too, on both sides. I haven't had a chance to write a dedicated article, as promised, about this issue but still plan on it, so gather your thoughts about neighborhood names, boundaries, etc. for next week. I'll try to include the ideas from these comments as well.

  10. Count me in as one with an extreme distaste for the “NuLu” branding and how it was foisted upon an area not suffering from a lack of identity. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this was a Gil Holland invention, no? I have wondered for some time how such a new Louisvillian can be accredited with such a swift name change/branding of historic Louisville areas.

    Props to (new, out-of-town, whatever) investors in the area and I think Gil Holland has some good ideas. Just think a bit of legacy should be involved in a wholesale name change. Should his ideas and imprint have staying power, I would have no problem calling the area, say, “Hollandville” 50 years from now. But, for the time being, it’s “East Market” for me.

  11. Taking a look at the previous August discussion over naming/branding, I understand and appreciate BS’s convention in referencing the name the general area has decided upon.

    I also think I remember the “Nulu” designation was reluctantly or narrowly approved by the East Market Business association. (Again, that’s just how I think I remember it going down…I may be way off base and it passed with flying colors?). Either way, I do think the general naming concept warrants a wider discussion, if only in the completely non-biding confines of Broken Sidewalk.

    I fancy myself a resident, though cosmopolitan Louisvillian. I welcome changes, influences, improvements, etc brought in by newcomers, recently relocated, etc. With that said, careful consideration of (note: “consideration of”, not “deference to”) the standing history, traditions, and rituals should be observed, especially in a town like Louisville that (backwardly, IMHO) references gas stations and Bacon’s stores closed decades prior.

    The “Nulu” thing was a little too fast/too soon/too outsiderish?/too anticipatory/not properly rooted in history or geography for me.

    Vast investment and rehabilitation of an area of Louisville? Check. That’s awesome. Work and money appreciated.

    Renaming rights of an area of town dating to the mid 1800’s? Eh…..?

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