What could have been a huge opportunity for the Butchertown neighborhood leaves me thinking, “Meh.” The old Boland-Maloney lumber yard warehouse has been for sale for years but new owners plan a large mini-warehouse complex according to a report filed in the Courier-Journal.
Located on a 1.3 acre parcel spanning Main and Washington streets east of Campbell Street, the warehouse is one massively ugly metal box. A group of investors including Greg Williams, Mark Helm, and Eleanor Bingham (the latter two developed Waterfront Park Place) will add a floor and an elevator inside the 42,000 square foot structure to create a total of around 60,000 square feet of storage space. An average storage locker is expected to be 100 square feet and the facility will be staffed 24 hours a day. Improvements could cost $1 million. More details on the project are in the C-J article.
The developers are throwing a positive spin on the project saying it’s a response to the growing popularity of living Downtown. The logic goes that as more people move into the city, smaller unit sizes will require a need for storage. The C-J said part of the facility dates to 1915, but I’m having a hard time seeing it. Anyone know if there’s an old building under part of that metal skin?
This property had (and still has) a lot of potential. It’s on a large lot, has frontage on busy Main Street and quiet Washington Street, and would make a quality mixed-use development. The Washington Street side could have really benefited from a more contextual treatment that fit the scale of the single family houses all around it. Meh.
I see this as more of an opportunity for them to acquire over an acre of downtown, free of “contributing” structures. It was a good buy and possibilities are endless to what you can do with that amount of land in Butchertown.
your picture is the washington street front and, as you point out, it's facing a wonderful collection of 19th residential on a quiet tree-lined street. and, since this site goes through the block, it also has main street frontage. this is *such* a huge opportunity site!
hope someone reads this post and listens. while storage as a short-term use wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, a $1m investment doesn't sound like short-term is what they have in mind…
I wish the city would do something about this. Mini storage is a blight across the country! I hope someone can come in with an alternative plan. Mini storage shouldn’t be allowed in the downtown area at all.
massive bummer. is this really needed? Extra Space Storage is already right around the corner on Adams.
I have a hard time believing that mini-storage is the highest and best use of that space. It appears to be a short term economic solution that does not take into account the big picture for the neighborhood and the potential that exists if the space developed to support a more walkable, livable neighborhood. There are spots all along East Main that could turn the area into one of the best neighborhoods to live in, but these warehouse size buildings and underutilized spaces break up the walkability and severely dampen the chance of the area reaching its full potential.
And to be clear, I am not opposed to businesses and even light industry mixed in with residential and commercial, that makes it possible for people to live near work and creates its own dynamic of activity 24/7. But a mini-storage facility does not brim with life nor does it provide very many jobs.
I was told on fairly good authority the owners were thinking of painting a street scene mural on the front to help improve the facade. I can only hope my good authority was wrong.
Pip, I was just telling someone today that Louisville needs to initiate a mural arts program like in Philadelphia to beautify the many blank walls around downtown and beyond. What you describe was not what I had in mind however. Without activity and transparency of storefronts, it will still be a dead space along a potentially vibrant part of our city.
@Patrick: For every good mural I’ve seen fifty bad ones. I’m all for the good ones . . . but not at that sort of exchange rate!
Do you have any information on the Philly project? I was fairly active with MACOPA a while back, and this would probably fall somewhere under their aegis.