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What's This?

It might be Downtown’s least exciting new construction project, but it’s still giving a grand historic structure some much needed attention. Construction has been going on since late last year on the J.F. Kurfees Building on Market Street and Brook Street that’s being converted into mini-storage, but it’s not readily apparent that there’s something big happening at the site.

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

Atlanta-based NitNeil Partners is working with local developer Aaron Willis to convert the structure at 201 East Market Street into more than 600 climate-controlled, mini-storage units in the four-story building.

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

The 110,000-square-foot Kurfees Building, built by Louisville-based Joseph & Joseph Architects, was built in two phases: the first, westernmost section in 1915, and a later addition in 1928. The sturdy concrete building features a limestone and brick facade with Beaux Arts detailing. Louisville architect Edward Eiche is handling the current renovation.

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

When we last spoke to developers, the plan was to replace the structure’s old windows with new ones that had similar mullion patterns, but it appears that plan has changed. On our recent site visit, the old windows had been painted black and broken panes of glass removed. That would suggest the plan is now to keep the old windows, which would be a big win for maintaining the character of the original building.

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

While developers insist today is not the right time to develop retail or apartments in the building, Willis previously told Broken Sidewalk that some day the building could shed its storage use for something a little more vibrant.

Had the structure been converted into apartments today, we believe it would have succeeded, but the structure does sit several blocks from where we typically think of development taking place. Still, you’ve got to push those boundaries from time to time. In the meantime, the structure will at least be properly maintained.

The project is expected to be complete later this summer. For more details, check out our previous story on the Kurfees Building here.

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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

5 COMMENTS

  1. First off, I’m glad the building is being preserved and rehabbed – but really, I can’t believe that considering how relatively hot the downtown residential market is, that storage is the right use for this building.

    But hey, it’s their money.

  2. Branden, let me know if you want to tour the inside…it’s turning out to be a nice renovation. Matthew, I too wish we could have done residential. We tried like crazy, but you gotta have parking…especially in Louisville.

  3. Aaron – good luck, and thanks for pointing out the obvious about zoning regulations are keeping you from doing what’s best for the building and the city. Let’s hope things change soon and for the better in that regards.

  4. Self storage in urban areas provides support to people living in small dwelling units, entrepreneurs/small businesses to office more efficiently, and people in general during times of transition (death of a loved one, divorce, life changing events). The customer base for these are wide and diverse. These projects also act as a watch dogs for neighborhoods by providing state of the art surveillance and lighting. They put very little to no burden on communities and their infrastructure all while paying full property taxes. Even though it’s not a ‘sexy’ use, it will contribute to the continued urbanization of Louisville. This has been an underutilized building for decades and is a gorgeous building so I find that bringing life to it is pretty damn exciting. Not every project can be a sexy hotel or condominium. If you’re into that, go out to vegas.

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