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What's This?

Louisville’s ISCO Industries makes high-density polyethylene piping, an alternative to traditional PVC products, and its headquarters is located right in the middle of the Highlands.

The company has been at its current location—926 Baxter Avenue—since its founding by Jim Kirchdorfer, Sr. in 1962 as the Irrigation Supply Company—hence ISCO. Kirchdorfer started his business in the same building that housed his father’s eponymous hardware store in a turreted landmark structure on the corner of Baxter Avenue and Christy Avenue in the Original Highlands.

A historic building anchors ISCO's Highlands campus. (Courtesy Google)
A historic building anchors ISCO’s Highlands campus. (Courtesy Google)

Last June, ISCO went before the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority requesting tax incentives for its expansion, according to a Business First report at the time, and it was awarded $825,000. The company said then that it planned on hiring 55 new employees over the next decade and would look around for a place to expand. No details on a move were revealed last summer, but a report this week in Insider Louisville reveals that ISCO is headed Downtown.

Insider’s David Serchuk reported that ISCO is relocating its headquarters to 100 Witherspoon Street, right next to the Second Street Bridge, the KFC Yum! Center, and Waterfront Park. The new building (pictured at top), home to the Presbyterian Church USA, has had a growing vacancy rate over the years which has been a burden on the religious denomination financially. ISCO plans to move in on September 1. Serchuk quoted a statement from ISCO’s current chairman, Jimmy Kirchdorfer, Jr.: “While we hate to leave the Highlands, which has been home to ISCO since our beginning, we are excited about what is happening in downtown Louisville, and look forward to being part of that community.”

The current ISCO campus marked in red. (Courtesy Bing)
The current ISCO campus marked in red. (Courtesy Bing)

While we’re thrilled to see a local company thriving and, in turn, helping to fuel growth Downtown, what really has us excited are the prospects for ISCO’s old campus. Following a tragic fire in the historic corner building that caused a partial collapse of the structure, ISCO meticulously rebuilt the three story edifice as it appears today. Next door, however, a non-contributing one-story structure and a large surface parking lot fill the rest of the half-acre site—and we’re thinking mixed use.

The current ISCO campus could be a great site for an infill development. (Courtesy Google)
The current ISCO campus could be a great site for an infill development. (Courtesy Google)

With such a prime location, the site could give Baxter Avenue a density boost, helping local retailers along the commercial corridor, promoting walkability, and adding a distinct urban feel to one of Louisville’s premier urban streets.

There’s no word currently on what will become of the property, but how about a mix of townhomes on Christy Avenue and a three or four story residential-over-retail structure on the Baxter side? What would you like to see on the site?

The current ISCO campus marked in red. (Courtesy Bing)
The current ISCO campus marked in red. (Courtesy Bing)
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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

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