Old Simon Warehouse

The old Simon Warehouse, which developers propose to convert into a boutique hotel, is 38,000 square feet. (Austin Horn | State Journal)

A planned rehabilitation of the Old Simon Warehouse on Broadway Street into a boutique hotel may be getting a financial boost from the state, if preliminary approval from the Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet gets finalized.

The project is spearheaded by Frankfort real estate developer Frank Haydon and Glenn Watkins, co-owners of The Broadway Building, LLC, as well as developing group Weyland Ventures of Louisville. The group plans to convert the 38,000-square-foot former furniture storage facility into a more than 40-room hotel, with the potential for meeting space and a restaurant, per Haydon’s attorney, Charlie Jones.

If it receives final approval from the state, the group could recover up to 25% of development costs via the Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet’s Development Incentive Program.

As part of the approval process, the cabinet will hold a public hearing regarding the project via Zoom on Thursday, May 13, at 1 p.m. 

The State Journal submitted an open records request for the application, and related materials, to the Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet but has yet to receive a response.

Earlier this year, the city agreed to sell an adjacent lot, valued at $125,000 by the Franklin County Property Valuation Administrator's Office, to The Broadway Building LLC for $1,000. Jones said the group plans to use that lot for parking, and at the time he pitched it to the city as an investment in economic development.

Former Frankfort Plant Board Chair Anna Marie Rosen questioned the legality of that discounted sale, as the land was being used by the municipal utility, when it occurred. Jones said current FPB officials had no issues with the sale.

For final approval, the cabinet will also use an independent consultant paid for by the developer to conduct an in-depth study to make sure the project meets the requirements of the program.

The state program refunded a total of $6.2 million to 17 different projects last fiscal year.

Those wishing to comment on the applications in connection with the proposed project may participate in the public hearing by contacting Angela Blank for Zoom access information at 502-892-4001 or angelag.blank@ky.gov

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