Last year, I told you about City Properties Group’s plans for the Caperton Block on the corner of Fourth and Chestnut Streets. I recently had a chance to tour the 1880s era structure with Kent Weyland of CPG to see what shape the building is in today and find a few clues about how it will be transformed.
City Properties Group plans to convert the structure into apartments and is calling the project the Caperton Lofts for now, a name that may change in the future. Like all projects undertaken by CPG, the final program might change with the market and there’s could be, for instance, some office space included in the final mix.
The structure, also known as the Guthrie Coke Building, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the last large 19th century buildings in Downtown waiting for rehabilitation.
Inside the building’s upper three floors, apartments are currently in varying states of decay but the space is filled to the brim with potential. The old layout of the building is circuitous and I would have been quickly disoriented with just a flashlight if not for the help of my guide.
When renovation is complete, these apartments should be some of the nicest in Louisville. They all have gigantic ceilings with oversized details and unique layouts. Two light wells long sealed up will be opened again allowing natural light to pour into the center of the structure.
In some places, the plaster is falling from the ceiling due to water damage and in others 12 or more layers of paint are beginning to peel, but still others look like they haven’t been touched in a century and are in pristine condition. Despite damage to some of the building, the structure is in remarkable structural condition.
Kent Weyland says the original details of the building will be preserved whenever possible including original woodwork, fireplaces, and even some of the remarkably preserved original wooden windows. He says the Caperton Block exhibits the qualities City Properties Group looks for when undertaking a renovation project: historical detail and structural soundness in the heart of Louisville.
While the inside definitely will require a lot of work, this building is going to clean up well. Even without electricity, the apartments were flooded with light from massive windows and will be even brighter when the light wells are opened up. With the coming construction of CPG’s boutique hotel across the street and the renovation of the Caperton Block, Fourth and Chestnut won’t be recognizable in a couple of years.