Two 19th century buildings once home to Wayside Christian Mission are in the early stages of a historic renovation. After the homeless shelter proposed demolishing the buildings last year, a group of investors led by local filmmaker and green-building extraordinaire Gill Holland, purchased the campus in hopes of transforming them into a creative centerpiece for the East Market Corridor. Rumors have already been swirling about a possible organic feed store that could set up shop in one of the old Wayside buildings. Today we noticed work has begun on two row-buildings facing Market Street that were once scheduled for demolition.
Plans call for restoring the facades back to their original appearance. The project was designed with help from historic photographs of the buildings and others in the area. In the end, the developers hope to designate these structures as Louisville Landmarks. Wayside is still operating at the site, but has vacated the two buildings under renovation. Already, a fire escape has been removed as well as the complete ground level facades (except a few limestone columns). A tile entrance to the building has been revealed to the sidewalk that appears to date from possibly the 1960s or 1970s.
The taller red building should be easy to reconfigure as it is a common type in the neighborhood. A window on the third floor will likely be replaced to match the others. There’s some serious brickwork that needs done on the side facade, though. The grey building will be a little more difficult. None of the window apertures on the second floor conform to the original size and the first floor is basically non-existent. Most of the carved limestone lintels above the original windows can still be seen, though, indicating where windows once were. One of the lintels was chopped in half at one point. This should be quite a transformation for the neighborhood as these buildings take shape with new form and use.
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