The mixed use development will include retail, offices and apartments. | Rendering by Putney Architecture PLLC
The mixed-use development will include retail, offices and apartments. | Rendering by Putney Architecture PLLC

Developer Gill Holland is aiming to bring back the traditional corner store with a new planned development in Portland.

The project is a mixed-use development on 0.25 acres at the corner of Bank and 17th streets. The three-story building will include offices, retail or a bit of both on the entry floor and apartments on the top two floors.

“Portland, like most historic neighborhoods, used to have a corner store on most corners, so we see this as bringing back, and a modern take on, the classic neighborhood corner store,” Holland said in an email to Insider Louisville.

The development will cost an estimated $1.8 million, Holland said in a follow-up phone interview. One of his companies, Artist Row Portland, bought 500 N. 17 St. and 502 N. 17 St. in 2014, which will fit a 10,000-square-foot building. Holland, however, is hoping to build a 20,000-square-foot structure but must acquire two neighboring parcels first.

“It may be something that gets built in phases,” he said.

Louisville firm Putney Architecture PLLC created the rendering, which is shown above.

“It’s a first shot at developing something that we feel will be complementary to the area without replicating a historic structure,” said Moseley Putney, founder of Putney Architecture, adding that activating corners in urban neighborhoods is a key part of redevelopment.

The mix of retail and residential “charges the space in a way that you want to be there,” Putney said. He described the initial design as having a “clean but classic profile.”

Preliminary plans call for 5,000 square feet to 6,000 square feet of commercial space and anywhere from eight to 20 apartments. Holland said they still are deciding between building 400-square-foot micro-apartments with a communal bathroom or larger units, which would be no more than 1,200 square feet.

How the apartments work out will depend largely on financing, Holland said, adding that bank loan requirements could dictate the size.

Holland noted in the email that the apartments will be “designed to be attractive for the students and teachers” in the University of Louisville’s master of fine arts program, which is opening a studio at 1606 Rowan St.

Renters, and particularly students, favor “smaller apartments with more open floor plans” in urban areas, Putney said. The smaller space also would allow the developers to set more affordable rental rates.

The design will continue to be tweaked, and elements added or subtracted, Putney said, noting that one change under consideration is to add a rooftop gathering space for residents.

Before the mixed-use development can move forward, though, the property will need to be rezoned.

Last week, IL reported that Holland’s Portland Investment Initiative bought 1403 and 1405 Rowan St. and is planning to lease out 6,800 square feet there.

Construction also is getting underway on the first of Holland’s 21st Century Shotguns, Healthy House, a reimagined shotgun home that will house offices for the urban agriculture and education nonprofit Louisville Grows.

Christina Lee Brown — Holland’s mother-in-law — and the Owsley Brown II Family Foundation are funding the $200,000 Healthy House.

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Caitlin Bowling
Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]