Byck's Lofts reaches milestone - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Byck's Lofts reaches milestone

While some downtown housing developments have been slowed by the recession, others are doing well.  Byck's Lofts over on 4th Street in downtown Louisville is a project that's reached a milestone.

For almost eighty years it was Byck's Department Store.  After the the store closed in 1983, it was boarded up for 24 years.  But two years ago local developer David Barhorst began spending $3.5 million to restore the building to condos.  Barhorst says,  "We are the first and only housing development on 4th Street, and we are also the first residential development to be financed privately with no city money."

The 16-unit building will soon be fully occupied when the last buyer moves into the penthouse in about three months.  The successful project comes during the recession.  Barhorst explains, "Downtown housing is in good shape.  What we're seeing is a lot of traffic, but in many cases people have a house in the suburbs they have to sell first.  Luckily we had mostly one-bedrooms here.  A lot of people were first-time homebuyers."

Duane and Nancy Schrader moved in about a year ago from the suburbs.  Duane tells Fox 41's Bill Francis, "First, I love not having to deal with the commuting, the traffic."  He also says, "It's great to walk to work, it's nice having smaller space, no yard, no maintenance.  We're really close to the things we like to do."

The Schraders like the high ceilings, the hardwood floors, and exposed brick.  And there is even a salute to the history of the old Byck's.  A little bit of nostalgia is in the elevators, with the various shops listed by floor.  Barhorst reveals, "Initially the city didn't want us to keep it, but we convinced them it was historic...The residents liked it, they wrote letters, and that's why we have it here today."

Confident about downtown housing, Barhorst is embarking on another project in an old ice house along East Main.  It's 52 lots, primarily rentals rather than condos.

Some downtown projects are on hold and others are offering special incentives, but Barhorst remains bullish on downtown housing.

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