Stabilization of the Wright-Taylor Building on Fourth Street near Chestnut Street is, for the most part, complete. City Properties Group purchased the two-story building along with the adjacent Henry Clay building in 2005 from the City of Louisville for $850,000 and has since successfully renovated both properties.
The Tudor Revival–style commercial building dates to 1928 and was likely built for the Wright & Taylor distillery, makers of Old Charter Bourbon, who are known to have had offices in the vicinity in the 1920s. The building has been vacant for nearly two decades, but with a newly restored facade and the resurgence of the Fourth Street corridor brought about by the Henry Clay among other projects, the building shouldn’t be vacant for much longer.
In 2006, an upscale Japanese steakhouse called Kaiwa Moru (meaning “Ocean Ring”) was signed to operate a giant restaurant filling the entire two-story space. The restaurant was the brainchild of Ray & Dee Balmorez who operate Jeffersonville-based Kobe Steakhouse. Plans called for an atrium with a giant sailboat doubling as a sushi bar, fountains reflecting its ocean theme, and outdoor balconies on the second level for additional dining. In all, the restaurant would seat around 400 and cover all of the structure’s 13,500 square feet. Plans for the restaurant fell through and another tenant has not yet been found. Kobe Steakhouse still displays Kaiwa Moru as “Coming Soon” on their website, but it appears it hasn’t been updated in a while.
City Properties Group, headed by Bill Weyland, has already signed a diverse retail selection for the Henry Clay, including Road to Morocco, Kentucky Backroads, Dooley’s Bagels & Deli, and the Bunbury Theater. Weyland is interested in creating a lively street atmosphere filled with shops and restaurants that enhance urban living. Rumors arose earlier in the year that CPG was planning to move their offices from 8th Street to the Wright-Taylor Building but those have proven to be false. Weyland is more concerned with finding the right tenant than an easy spot for offices. The space is shelled-out now, so it’s ready for any use that comes its way, but it seems likely given its size that two retail uses could be accommodated, one hopefully a restaurant as the property is two-doors-down from the Palace Theater and other attractions. We’ll see where this one goes.
- The Henry Clay (Official Site)
- Kobe Japanese Steakhouse (Official Site)
- City Properties Group (Official Site)
- History of Old Charter Bourbon (Straight Bourbon)