The 500 block of Main Street is on its way to seeing a second development project underway, the first being Don Warfe’s 501 Main Street. This time it’s Roger Trettel, the developer who tacked the Buehl Building, who has recently purchased 523 Main Street and intends on converting the structure into mixed use with a cafe, creative studios and upper residential loft units.
Over the past couple weeks I’ve had the pleasure of walking through the building with Roger while listening to his ideas and vision for each of the floors. The narrow building runs the length of the block (between Main and Washington), which means that the layout is going to have to be somewhat creative. And what better way to fill a creative layout than with creative people? The way that Roger described the first floor to me was by picturing half of the Market Arcade building – a long hallway on one side with studios running along the other side. Each studio might have a sliding garage-style glass door that can be pushed up to create an open gallery setting or pulled down for privacy. There have even been talks about constructing a catwalk above the studios while building storage for the tenants by using the old wood and glass haberdashery closets found on the second floor. Skylights would be added to allow natural light into the hallway, and a central common area would be incorporated, which would double as a seating area for the cafe.
The second floor of the building will most likely be converted into live-work units for artists. Roger intends to build out the spaces using many of the raw elements that already exist – finally a developer is going to be building real urban open floor plan loft units with no walls, just big open space. Plus, the units will also have access to some killer rooftop patios. Nearby views of interest from Cornucopia windows include The Belesario, Holling Place Lofts, The Hyatt, the Metro Rail and Club Diablo. Other nearby developments include the Book Arts Collaborative in the Slotkin Building, Termini’s Ellicott District, The Genesee Gateway, future Epstein condos and The Electric Tower. Chippewa and Fountain Plaza are also nearby.
At this time, Roger has already secured the cafe for the first floor. He is now looking for people who are looking to live and create downtown. He envisions the studio spaces working together as a collaborative with shared marketing opportunities and event potential. The studios might run between 350-500 sq.’ and will go for around $400-$500 a month depending on the location within the building (utilities included). If you’re interested in one of the spaces, be it living or studio, give me a shout. It looks as if Main Street is finally starting to pop thanks to the snap and crackle heard in each and every direction.
*Cornucopia gets its name from the cornucopia design detailings on the facade of the building. The project is scheduled to be complete early to mid summer. Here are 123 things to do along the Metro Rail route.