Okinawa 'Health' Club For Sale
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Okinawa 'Health' Club For Sale
Okinawa ‘Health’ Club. (Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

We love East Broadway. We want development to breathe new life into the many historic properties sitting at the hub of oh-so-many neighborhoods. Shall we name then? Okay: Phoenix Hill, Smoketown-Jackson Park, Paristown Pointe, the Original Highlands, and the Medical Center. And those are only the nabes with direct boundaries on East Broad (but not that far east). We’re calling the area the East Broadway “Bridge” Corridor as it has the potential to link many areas already experiencing redevelopment and growth.

That isn’t to say there’s nothing going on here. There’s not much, but the area is getting by. There’s a custom furniture store and a clock store. A consignment furniture store called the East Broadway Home Store now has two locations and appears to be doing well. The Louisville Antique Mall and Colonnade Cafe are here, too. There’s a handful of other established businesses, too. Another building was renovated for a small music venue and record label by the future developers of that building on First Street. There’s beautiful architecture. New Directions is planning to renovate the old Tonini Building. The new construction Shelby Street Apartments are bricked. There’s no place to eat dinner, get basic goods, or hang out, though.

New-ish Business Along East Broadway
New-ish Business Along East Broadway. (Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

The area is largely for sale, too. The street’s great landmark with 23,000 square feet and best value at $600,000 is the Eichhorn Stained Glass building which leaves us wondering why it’s still on the market. There are other properties for sale too that could accommodate various size projects.

The former Okinawa Asian ‘Health’ Club famous for its happy endings and frequently busted for prostitution has been closed for some time and its building is for sale, listed at $300,000. The location is good between the old Broadway Theater and the Eichhorn building and offers a simple yet strangely grand facade that would make an excellent retail spot with a large glass facade. The building has 4600 square feet on the ground level and a partial second floor.

The building needs some work inside (all the original spa fixtures are still there, use gloves when removing), but the masonry and roof are in good shape. There’s an original patterned tin ceiling in there, too, so it’s got character. The realtor thinks the $300k price tag may be a bit ‘optimistic’, so someone might get a deal in this building that’s not illegal. The sign needs to be taken down asap, regardless.

Steepleton Property For Sale
Steepleton Property For Sale. (Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

The former Steepleton Billiards store is also vacant and for sale. The property is pricey at $750,000 but contains 20,000 square feet. There are three buildings on site, but two of them are essentially tear-downs. The historic structure pictured below is the only one really worth saving. When Steepleton consolidated to their St. Matthews store, there was interest in the property from the adjacent Goodwill store to use the buildings as warehouse space, but that has since fallen through. There’s likely a deal to be had here too, as it’s doubtful that price will stick.

So you can see there’s potential here, but East Broadway has, so far, been mostly overlooked by developers. It does suffer a sort of identity problem: it’s in the middle of everything but really a part of nothing.

We say its time to create a new identity here as the street acts as what we call a “Zipper Corridor.” A Zipper represents the confluence of many neighborhoods and is the communal strip that brings them all together. Bardstown Road is a great example of a Zipper Corridor, and to a lesser extent, Frankfort Avenue is, too. A Zipper has the ability to take on many roles and identities as it meshes together disparate neighborhood identities. The East Broadway “Bridge” Corridor can be a great Zipper.

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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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