FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- After nearly two years, Kentucky has found a tentative buyer for the Grocers Ice and Cold Storage Co. building that it purchased as part of the Ohio River Bridges Project.

But the state stands to recoup just a fraction of the $3.6 million it paid for the property in 2010.

The Denton Floyd Real Estate Group of Louisville submitted a high offer of $400,000 during a bid opening on Tuesday. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet waived previous requirements that bids meet the property's fair market value, instead allowing Finance Secretary William Landrum to make a final determination.

Landrum could rule on the offer by early next week, said Mark McCoy of the Transportation Cabinet's right-of-way division. The property's appraised price wasn't immediately available Tuesday.

Denton Floyd would convert the building on East Main Street near Interstate 65 into 60 to 70 apartments while also keeping the structure's historic character, said Brandon Denton, a company co-founder who attended the bid opening.

"We feel that it's going to be a great addition to the NuLu-Butchertown district in Louisville," he said.

Besides the Grocers Ice building, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is hoping to sell two other properties this week that it bought under a bridges project preservation agreement.

The state has previously tried to sell the properties only to receive no bids or get offers below a minimum asking price. The Grocers Ice building failed to sell during two previous auctions.

But the state set no minimum price this time. The $400,000 submitted by Denton Floyd is about one-third of the $1.2 million sought last year.

State Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, said there may be reasons why selling the property for $400,000 is good for the state. "But I think it's important to get the appraised value and determine whether we got taken or not.” 

The Grocers Ice building dates from around 1906 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It includes a preservation easement that limits how it can be used. 

The 44,628-square-foot building sits on more than three-fourths of an acre a block from Louisville Slugger Field.  It has an unorthodox layout: Short ceilings in some rooms where ice was stored, while other spaces have high ceilings.

"We are big believers in historic preservation and preserving the historical integrity of these buildings and bringing them back to their original glory," Denton said.

The company has undertaken similar projects in the Louisville area, including converting the old M. Fine & Sons shirt factory in New Albany, Ind., to an assisted-living facility and a planned renovating a New Albany building for city offices, he said.

Denton Floyd plans to do several more months of work evaluating the property and securing financing, with an anticipated groundbreaking in late 2018, Denton said. 


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