When a historic building as nice as the old Fetzer Building at 209 East Main Street in Downtown Louisville hits the market, we can’t help but wonder what form it might take in its next life. And now’s the right time to think about the Fetzer Building as interest in the property is heating up. Business First reported last August that Fetzer Foodservice Equipment would vacate the five-story building it has called home since 1962 and downsize at another location. We spoke with the real estate broker representing the building and, while no deal has been struck yet, he said the interest in the building has been as high as any in the area.
The Fetzer Building is listed at $3.1 million and contains 56,000 square feet. Only the first two floors have been occupied with the top three unfinished and featuring original oak floors, heavy timbers (the first floor has cast-iron columns), and soaring ceiling heights. The structure was built sometime before 1905 as it appears on maps that year. It was originally a lumber warehouse and offices for the E.L. Highes Company, according to those maps. Interestingly, the structure appears to have largely been freestanding over the years.
As the city drops off toward the Ohio River, the Washington Street frontage of the building reveals the basement level as a second retail frontage. A century ago, that side of the building was a gritty railyard with rail spurs along the street for the lumber yard and the adjacent cold storage warehouse (which was much larger back then). That structure is today being converted into residential mixed-use.
Bob Trabue, senior advisor for Sperry Van Ness Ward Commercial Group, told Broken Sidewalk that in early January that he felt a deal could be imminent for the property, with various parties interested in renovating the building into office space, residences, or a boutique hotel.
As is often the case, these deals move slowly and Trabue told us last week that a deal could fall into place in a few days or a few months. While we wait, what would you like to see built at the old Fetzer site?