Rendering of possible future development (courtesy Lee Jones)
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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.

Property to be redeveloped at 7th & Oak Streets
Property to be redeveloped at 7th & Oak Streets. (Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

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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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

4 COMMENTS

  1. No word yet on what’s going to go here, but the completed refub on the facade and lot are a major aesthetic improvement for Oak Street.

  2. Puh-leez do not destroy that sign painted on the side. Vernacular sign painting is almost as valuable to save as architecture. I have always loved that tire-kicking dude.

  3. I don’t think Lee has any intention of painting over that image; the building has a new coat of paint, and he’s still there.

  4. Jebediah is right, the kicking man is still there although I believe the text is gone. When I spoke with Lee Jones for this article, I remember him saying he really liked it as well.

    If you haven’t seen the building recently, it’s worth taking a look. Much better condition than these older photos.

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