Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Share on LinkedIn
Pin to Pinterest
Share on StumbleUpon
+

For much of the second half of the 20th century, the Downtown-adjacent area south of Broadway has been an overlooked expanse of parking lots and a scattering of institutional uses—just a few forgotten blocks to drive through between Downtown and Old Louisville. Almost no one lives there and there’s little reason to stop, save a stop at the Louisville Free Public Library‘s landmark main branch on York Street.

Despite its key location, Third Street south of Broadway hasn’t had a lot going for it. But SoBro has been quietly changing, and there’s reason to believe the next decade could see a resurgence in urban vitality along the neighborhood’s windswept sidewalks. A few high profile projects are already complete or in the works, including the 800 Tower Apartments renovation, expansion at Spalding University and the Kentucky College of Art + Design, and even some creative thinking about bus stops.

A small segment of SoBro highlighting surface parking lots and vacant land. (Courtesy Bing Maps; Montage by Broken Sidewalk)
A small segment of SoBro highlighting surface parking lots and vacant land. (Courtesy Bing Maps; Montage by Broken Sidewalk)

Soon, a new mixed-use development could bring some much-needed activity to Third, according to David Mann’s December 4 story in Business First. Luckett & Farley purchased a two-story building and parking lot directly south of its headquarters on the street and plans a full renovation—and maybe more.

Luckett & Farley's headquarters and their new acquisition along Third Street. (Courtesy Bing Maps; Montage by Broken Sidewalk)
Luckett & Farley’s headquarters and their new acquisition along Third Street. (Courtesy Bing Maps; Montage by Broken Sidewalk)

Located at 741–749 South Third Street, the project will convert some 40,000 square feet in the two-story structure into offices for the growing architecture, engineering, and interior design firm as well as additional office space and potentially housing. Luckett & Farley, as expected, will handle the design in house.

“It’s going to be a vibrant, mixed-use building,” Ed Jerdonek, president and CEO of Luckett & Farley, told Mann. The property has been vacant for the past decade.

(Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)
(Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

Insider Louisville’s Caitlin Bowling followed up Monday morning, adding that the architecture firm purchased the building for $1.5 million from Gary L. Matheis. Luckett & Farley’s head of development, Tim Pitcher, told Bowling that this property is part of a larger project that could involve multiple parcels. Development details are still being worked out.

“We are going to be active in Louisville in general and SoBro in particular,” Pitcher told Bowling.

(Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)
(Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

That last part is exciting: that the project could expand beyond just renovating the two-story structure. Luckett & Farley is keeping mum on more detailed plans, but it’s clear from the sea of parking surrounding the architecture firm’s offices that a larger project could include new construction sorely needed in the area.

(Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)
(Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

Filling in the parking lot that was part of this acquisition at the corner of Third and York streets would go a long way toward defining the streetscape around the library. We’re excited to see what Luckett & Farley has up its sleeve.

Prince Wells, left, and his circa 1900 bike shop along Fourth Street, center and right. (Courtesy Kentucky Wheelmen; Google)
Prince Wells, left, and his circa 1900 bike shop along Fourth Street, center and right. (Courtesy Kentucky Wheelmen; Google)

Bowling also pointed out that the building’s transportation heritage extends back to the early bicycling movement with Kentucky native William Prince Wells, known as “The Greatest Living Sensational Cyclist.”

In 1890, Prince Wells moved to Louisville, eventually opening a bike shop Downtown in 1900 at 538 South Fourth Street. You can still see his name emblazoned on the three-story structure.

(Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)
(Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

After 20 years in the bicycle business, Prince Wells switched to automobiles, first operating at a now-razed site on Fourth Street and then moving to this Third Street location. Luckett & Farley’s current offices occupy part of Prince Wells’ Third Street facility.

Renovation work is expected to get underway in 2016.

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Share on LinkedIn
Pin to Pinterest
Share on StumbleUpon
+
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

2 COMMENTS

  1. The building highlighted in the second picture I believe is the home of the Louisville Leopards Percussion Ensemble. Does anyone know their organization’s fate based on this purchase?

Leave a Reply