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A signature building along West Main Street is on the market. Louisville Forward, the city’s economic development department, announced at the end of January that 745 West Main Street, on the corner of Eighth Street, has been listed for sale or lease.

The Alexander Building. (Courtesy Metro Louisville)
The Alexander Building. (Courtesy Metro Louisville)

The 29,853-square-foot structure is known as the Alexander Building (or “The Old Alexander Hotel”) and was built around 1880, according to the city. The building rises four floors from Main Street, but as Eighth Street drops off toward the river, another ground floor makes five.

Rendering of lab space at the Alexander Building. (Courtesy Louisville Science Center)
Rendering of lab space at the Alexander Building. (Courtesy Louisville Science Center)

Back in 2008, the Kentucky Science Center (then called the Louisville Science Center) launched plans to fill the Alexander Building with a $1 million, 5,200-square-foot expansion, including a new children’s lab (pictured) on the ground floor. The city purchased the building for $2 million at the time.

(Courtesy Google)
(Courtesy Google)

“Metro will entertain all offers and will evaluate based on the best interests of Metro,” a press release read. “All development plans shall be complementary to existing development on West Main Street. Metro does not commit to finalizing any sale or lease based on this availability.” The city said in the release that the site is suitable for office, retail or hotel development.

Two open houses are planned for the property:

  • Tuesday, February 9 from 4:00–6:00p.m.
  • Thursday, February 11 from 4:00–6:00p.m.

Private viewings can be arranged by contacting Mark Zoeller at 502-574-0104. To get more information on the listing or to make an offer, contact Cathy Duncan, director of facilities, at cathy.duncan@louisvilleky.gov or (502) 574-4174. Offers and inquiries are due no later than February 29, 2016.

(Courtesy Google)
(Courtesy Google)

The location couldn’t be better for a top-notch mixed-use conversion. The north side of the structure features sweeping views of the Ohio River, while the corner location ensures there will be plenty of windows and natural light. And who wouldn’t want to wake up looking at the gorgeous Fort Nelson Building across Eighth Street?

Development has been pushing westward along the street for over a decade, and the surrounding blocks are now home to the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, Michter’s Bourbon Distillery, the Sons of the American Revolution, and the Frazier History Museum, among many others.

While West Main Street has dually been branded as Museum Row and Bourbon Row, the area could certainly benefit from a mix 0f additional uses—especially housing—that are lacking in the area. And more retail along the sidewalk never hurts.

What would you like to see fill the Alexander Building? Share your ideas in the comments below.

[Correction: A previous version of this article referred to the Louisville Science Center, which has since changed its name to the Kentucky Science Center. The article has been updated.]
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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

8 COMMENTS

  1. It’s unclear from this story whether the now-Kentucky Science Center (they recently dropped “Louisville” in favor of a state-wide moniker) went through with the 2008 expansion. Pretty sure based on my last visit there that it didn’t happen. Maybe investigating and explaining why that expansion didn’t happen would be important to anyone willing to invest in the property? Or maybe to the general public as well, since I’m also trying to figure it out…

  2. @Joel: The city’s press release has no details about the Center’s expansion (thanks for the correction about the name). Construction did begin on the ground floor back in 2008 (http://brokensidewalk.com/2008/snapshot-louisville-science-center-moving-debris/) and the ground floor has been used for a student laboratory since then. It appears the expansion never went vertical. C. Duncan told the C-J that the lab would move pending a deal (http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/2016/02/01/city-seeks-uses-alexander-building/79648690/) Sounds like a good question to take to the open houses.

  3. Main Street should have been Lou’s retail strip what with all the store fronts but I guess its to late for that ….Not a resident of Lou but a frequent visitor, maybe someone can explain to me why Lou is lacking of much in the way of traditional commercial strips ? Outside of Bardstown rd. which appears to be not even all that traditional as many retail outlets are in what once were residential buildings not commercial ones, I cant for the life of me figure out where all the retail strips were back a hundred years ago ?

  4. They aren’t huge like you see in Detroit and Chicago, but it seems like most neigborhoods do have some. Portland has one, Saint Mathews, Preston Highway, J-Town has a few, obviously Frankfort avenue, there’s a really awesome looking traditional retail area in Parkland, and Beechmont has a pretty nice strip on Woodland, Goss Avenue, and other’s. I agree they aren’t really very big. I’ve seen Hamtranck in Detroit and that puts anything we have to shame, but then Detroit was much larger.

  5. Thanks for your feedback, Our Frank. Born and raised Chicagoland resident myself, yes our traditional commercial strips often run for miles and our located practically in mile intervals through out the city and region but even smaller Aurora Illinois where I live now ( pop.50K in 1930 ) has a more substantial downtown than even Lou or any of its neighborhoods in the time period. Almost makes me think they have just vanished or the people of Lou just never much shopped back in the day…:)

  6. They have vanished; urban renewal really did gut downtown, and particularly the immediately surrounding areas, which all would have been completely built up but are now suburban-style single use buildings and parking lots.

  7. Open a Louisville museum.
    Focus on interactive exibits. Examples:
    – interactive fort building with blocks to repersent the first settlements or, stations.
    – interactive falls of the Ohio and lock/dam where you can raise and lower barges up and down river
    -famous people of area where you can try on their clothing and walk a mile in there shoes
    -horse raceing activity where you ride “horse”
    -tractor (International Harvester) and truck (Ford) assembly/building exibit
    – preforming arts activity with hands on musical instruments (orchestra), costumes(actors theater), ballet shoes (louisville ballet), opera
    – something on Irish and German Catholic immigrants, what brought them here and what they brought with them.
    -something basketball
    -something on tornados, light bulbs, bourbon, newspapers, parks, bussing/civil rights, Muhammad Ali, Ed Hamilton,

    Important!
    Have a reasonably priced spot to eat that serves Louisville foods. With local chef’s takes on Benedictine, beer cheese, hot brown, derby pie, burgoo, pimento cheese, rolled oysters, Henry Bain sauce, bourbon balls. Something (dish?) for closed Louisville resturants Maybe even something for local pizza or fried chicken chains?
    Gift shop/Louisville Metro store that sells gift shop stuff and fun metro government surplus stuff. Signs, street lights, fire equipment, parking meters, Louisville branded stuff.

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