For the last few weeks in downtown Louisville we have seen a banner at the old Byck's retail building next to the Seelbach stating the building will soon be home to condos. In today's Courier-Journal there was an update/official story about the developers plans.
The basics of the projects were announced as follows:
The units will be located in two historic buildings along South Fourth - The Byck's Building and the adjoining "Tiff's Music" Building; both buildings have been abandoned for over two decades.
There are a total of 15 units in the 2 buildings, ranging in price from 105,000 to 600,000 dollars. 8 units have been pre-sold and secured.
While the main developer has a record of unfulfilled promises in other developments, work has already begun on Byck's Lofts and private bank financing has also been secured. This project is an important development in the rebirth of the Fourth Street corridor. Until this date, we have only had small boutique style retail and lunch restaurants return to Fourth Street. While this is a huge improvement from only 5 years ago, it still hasn't been enough. Especially at night Fourth Street is a kind of creepy road. There are too many "missing teeth" along the building wall and not enough people on the street. This project rehabs two major problem buildings for the road, as well as brings a permanent population to the street.
After Fourth Street Live was completed two years ago we expected to see Fourth Street blossom back to life - but it hasn't really happened yet. The promised expansion of Fourth Street Live by Cordish fell through, Walgreen's vacated their corner building at Fourth and Chestnut, and the road needs a complete street scape makeover. (The trees have to go! They're too big and ruin your views of the buildings) We expected residential projects to immediately follow and the the empty lot next to the Seelbach to be filled in and the empty lot at Fourth and Chestnut to get a hotel. (Still rumored)
The news for Fourth Street in the last twelve months however has been encouraging. A new Japanese restaurant has been announced near the Palace Theatre which will rehab another boarded up building, there have been a few new lunch places open, retail establishment keep being opened, and now a residential project is underway. While the rebirth has been slower than we had all expected, at least it has started.