Two new businesses received government loans yesterday to open near the arena. A hair salon will be opening in a building at 123 West Main Street being renovated for the Patrick O’Shea’s restaurant and the Bluegrass Brewing Company will be opening at 300 West Main Street in the Louisville Orchestra Building.
Bluegrass Brewing Company owners Patrick and Lamont Hagan plan their third restaurant and second Downtown location on the corner of Third Street and Main Street. BBC will spend $1.4 million to renovate the basement and first floor of the Louisville Orchestra Building which features an elevated first floor and large windows in the basement. Part of the renovation will include a handicap accessible entrance.
The seven-story building, originally called the Kentucky National Bank building, was built in the 1890s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s considered the finest example of Richardsonian Romanesque style architecture on Main Street. Designed by the McDonald Brothers, one of Louisville most prestigious firms, the original cost $100,000 to build and sits on the site of the “Great Fire of 1840” that started in a chair factory and destroyed a group of commercial buildings at the location.
Katie Thurpen-Langley and Cynthia Nell Cashen received a $50,000 low-interest loan to open their salon on the third floor of the O’Shea’s building above the restaurant and bar. This is exciting news as it shows retail opening up Downtown beyond the sidewalk level. Many businesses do not need direct access to the sidewalk to operate and multiple layers of retail can create a more vibrant density Downtown. Handicap access will be available through a shared elevator.
Renovation work at the Patrick O’Shea’s Restaurant continues to make progress with heating to be operational soon and is on schedule to open next year. Architect Jeff Rawlins of Architectural Artisans says finishing touches are being installed on the large bar on the first floor and salvaged materials from the renovation are being used to create furniture in the restaurant and promote a “hand crafted” feel.
Both of these businesses will add to the vibrancy and livability of Downtown and are welcome additions. Chris Poynter with Mayor Abramson’s office said these announcements show building the arena at a Downtown site was the right choice. It’s clear, he says, that we wouldn’t see the same economic payoff if the arena was located at the Exposition Center. You may also remember that Sol Aztecas Grill and Cantina also plans to open at the Whiskey Row Lofts.
This is all such good news. One wonders what will happen to 4th Street Live! when these home-grown places are going to be right there to serve before and after the game, concert, or convention. Small, local, lively – and close vs big and corporate and a long walk away.
Now that doesn’t mean I’d like 4SL! to die and become an empty hulk. But some smart thinking is needed now.