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)

After years of sitting vacant, the old Simon Warehouse at Broadway and Ann streets and a building at 100 Broadway that sits next to the former furniture storage facility may finally be put to use. 

Owner Frank Hayden is planning to convert the space into a boutique hotel with more than 40 rooms, according to his attorney Charles Jones. Hayden, who owns the properties under an entity named The Broadway Building LLC, is partnering with Louisville developer Weyland Ventures in the project.

Hayden owns several other properties in downtown Frankfort, according to Jones.

The potential project went public on Wednesday, when Frankfort City Manager Keith Parker shared a letter submitted by Jones on July 31 to the city requesting that the property join the city’s proposed Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District area. The TIF district currently includes Parcels B and C, the site of the demolished Frankfort Convention Center and adjacent Fountain Place Shoppes as well as the land under the YMCA, Capital Plaza Hotel, and an existing state parking garage.

Under a TIF, a percentage of the money the city and county take in from increased property, sales and occupational tax revenues would be paid back to the developers in order to pay for public infrastructure, including the parking garage, sidewalks and an extension of Washington Street.

Because of Jones’ letter, city officials postponed a public hearing concerning the TIF development that was initially set for Aug. 10. The city postponed the hearing indefinitely “until additional information can be gathered and potential revisions to the TIF Development Plan can be made.”

The properties under consideration would not be contiguous with the previously proposed TIF District, as they are separated from Parcels B and C by two blocks.

Speaking on behalf of Hayden, Jones said his client wants to join the TIF District due to “a possibility of financial help with utilities or infrastructure costs, including parking.”

Jones added that the idea is for the space to become not just a hotel but a restaurant and meeting place. With new businesses popping up in the area such as Goodwood Brewing, Jones said that now is a prime time for such development.

“There’s a feeling downtown that now’s the time that we need to take advantage of some opportunities here,” Jones said. “There’s a great potential to grow the downtown … . There are all these visitors going to Buffalo Trace, and we need more of them to stay here.”

Jones said the project would renovate the existing buildings, not tear them down. The old Simon Warehouse is a 38,000-square-foot property, and the building at 100 Broadway is around 2,100 square feet, according to Jones.

Practicing law just across the street for over 20 years, Jones said that he’s heard several plans for the property come and go before this proposal — the most recent being for senior housing.

Weyland Ventures has helped with similar projects in Louisville, such as the renovation of the Henry Clay building downtown, as well as the city’s Glassworks building.

Jones added that the TIF would help increase the likelihood of the project’s completion.

“I’m not going to say that the project is dependent on the TIF, but any source of funding obviously helps it become more viable,” Jones said. “… it might very well be the key to pushing the project forward and getting it done.”

The city commission will discuss the potential addition to the TIF District at its next session on Monday, according to Blair Hecker, Frankfort’s community engagement project manager.

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