Work on rundown building stirs speculation on future

By ANDREW TANGEL State Journal Staff Writer Published:

The three-story warehouse at 106 East Broadway that has languished in disrepair is finally getting the facelift city officials fought for in court, sparking curiosity about its future.

Owner Joseph Wall was convicted in June of building-code violations after inspectors found a collapsing roof along with cracked and broken windows and crumbling walls in the trash-strewn warehouse.

One of the inspectors, David Johnson, said he's noticed Wall's recent repairs to brickwork and windows. "He has done quite a bit of work to it," Johnson said, adding: "There's been some talk of converting the building to other things."

Wall, however, would not reveal his development plans beyond his court-mandated repairs. He must prove his progress to a judge on Oct. 14 and have the warehouse up to code by June 2004, or face a $10,000 fine.

"There is definitely something in the works," Wall said. "I just can't say anything right now."

The warehouse, which Wall says was built around 1850, has become the object of interest as government agencies and business leaders begin to see potential.

The Kentucky Housing Corporation once approved $2.5 million to convert it to low-income housing, but the city refused to green-light the project, according to Wall.

Ever since Mary Moore, executive director of the Frankfort Area Chamber of Commerce, saw a tree growing out of a top-floor window of the warehouse a few years ago, she remembers wondering about another possibility for housing: apartments for single professionals, with perhaps office space on the ground floor.

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