It is often said that when one door closes another one opens. And perhaps that adage is fitting in this case.
Over the weekend, as customers, friends and family bid farewell to Bryant’s Pic-Pac, a city staple on the corner of Second and Steele streets for generations, news broke that two properties on West Main Street will be renovated.
Hoping to fulfill a burning desire to restore one of Frankfort’s old downtown firehouses to its former glory, two local investors have purchased the building at 307 and 309 W. Main St.
Joe Johnson, owner of Bluegrass Realty, and Bill Cull, president of the Grand Theatre, have partnered on the project and have been collecting photos and stories of the old building so they can refurbish the fire station as historically accurate as possible.
According to Cull, very few people recognize the former firehouse for what it was and the pair wants to preserve that history. Since its closure as a fire station 61 years ago, the property has served as the County Clerk’s Office, WFKY, a loan business, photo studio and, most recently, an AirBnB apartment.
The goal is to operate a small coffee shop or espresso bar on the bottom floor by the fall and, after the façade has been restored, to attract other businesses to the building. The remainder of the 5,000 square foot space could be put to use in a variety of ways, Cull added.
We applaud the vision and effort both men are putting into the project, as it is another indication of the change going on in the capital city. The rejuvenated fire station will give residents and tourists to the area another reason to go downtown.
Along with the recently constructed bourbon distilleries marker, the soon-to-come pub on St. Clair Street, the new brewery on West Main Street and existing businesses, the list of downtown tourist destinations is becoming lengthy and that is a good thing.