It’s hard to miss the bright orange Legacy Lofts building half built on the corner of East Main Street and Campbell Street. Originally the idea of developer and architect Mark Isaacs, Legacy Lofts has become the poster child of the recession for Louisville’s condo market. Now that the economy is beginning to stabilize, however, the mixed-use residential project is about to see new life.
Legacy Lofts went to foreclosure auction on February 16 after work ceased over a year ago and Will Realty, headed by David Will and his daughter Kelly Will, placed the sole bid of $1.87 million for the five-story, 38-unit structure. David Will says he believes the project is still viable and hopes to get started finishing the building as soon as possible.
David Will and his team have been conducting brainstorming sessions this week about how to proceed with the project. He plans to incorporate as many of the sustainable features as possible from the 2008 Green Multifamily Building of the Year but admits that the orange color is out. Instead, he plans a few facade modifications to add interest and will use a neutral color scheme of taupe. The overall aesthetic will remain modern.
The condition of the interior still hasn’t fully been determined but, as expected, there has been some decay. Will says he made an emergency walk through during the auction and has sealed up what he can, but a more thorough inspection will be required to determine the extent of work. Anything that is deteriorated or broken will be taken apart and rebuilt – no easy task considering some units were nearly complete when construction halted.
On the inside, Will intends to keep the general layout but is considering combining some of the smaller units. The structure is comprised of two masses containing residential units with an outdoor courtyard in the middle. Will also plans to keep 3,200 square feet of retail space fronting Main Street. He says the vibrancy of the East Market corridor including several planned projects within surrounding blocks convinced him the project is still feasible.
LEED Certification could still be in play. Isaacs designed the building to be a model of sustainability and Will hopes to keep the building green. There’s already a geothermal system comprising 16,800 linear feet of geothermal coils installed under the building that Will plans on salvaging. Legacy Lofts also contains massive amounts of insulation and some walls were double framed for an effective R50 value. Â Much of the gypsum wallboard and insulation has probably fallen victim to the elements, though.
Another green element that could remain is a white roof containing “thermospheres,” microscopic glass and ceramic beads, that increase reflectivity to keep the building cool in the summer and reduce the urban heat island effect. The original design also called for rainwater harvesting to irrigate plants on the interior courtyard.
Will is currently reaching out to those who had expressed interest in the original project. In 2008, 12 units were reserved ranging in price from $125,000 to $525,000. Will must submit his proposed changes to the city, but wants to get construction started quickly. He hopes to have the first units available in as soon as six months. As always, that timeline depends on the condition of the building.