An old commercial building near the corner of Seventh & Oak Streets is about to see new life with the help of a $40,000 low-interest METCO loan from Louisville Metro Government. Plans call for installing new windows, tuckpointing the two-story brick building, installing a new wrought iron fence around the corner parking lot, landscaping, and a fresh coat of paint.
Lee Jones, owner of Oak Street Hardware currently on the corner of Second and Oak had originally planned to move his business to the new location, but is considering leasing the space for retail use. He still likes the convenience of his current location and doesn’t want to abandon his regular walk-in traffic. Plans are still evolving, though. Jones explained that the building is in an odd site: it’s neither Old Louisville nor Limerick. Instead, it sits in a small pocket with several other commercial buildings that Jones refers to as the West Oak Street Corridor.
The building targeted for redevelopment, 617 Oak Street, is a sturdy brick building but in need of repair. A coat of plaster was applied to the front facade, and Jones is currently determining whether to completely remove it and restore the brick. An original cornice has begun to separate from the building and will be completely restored. Jones says he will likely paint the restored building in a similar color palette as the Oak Street Hardware building: muted red, green, and yellow.
There is other development activity in the area as well. On the same block, the Stuart Apartments were recently renovated along with nearby Sixth & Oak building. One block to the north, Shine Properties has been renovating another commercial building. Whether Oak Street Hardware relocates or a new retail spot is created, hopefully this project will help tip the area into the western anchor of the Oak Street commercial district. There is no current timetable on the project, but Jones hopes to get started soon after the loan is finalized.
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