Capitol Ave. projects could transform downtown area

Redevelopment of a long-abandoned historic building on North Capitol Avenue downtown is beginning to take shape as workers install the large windows that will line the four-story structure’s exterior.

litho building 225pxWhat’s significant about the installation is that workers first needed to remove concrete blocks that had sealed shut the massive window openings. When finished, the 105-year-old building will feature 150 industrial-designed windows to help restore its original look.

The former Litho Press building (top right) is receiving a $16 million rehab from local developers The Whitsett Group and Ambrose Property Group. The project, known simply as 800 North Capitol Apartments, should be completed by the end of the year and will include 111 units.

Perhaps even more significant is that the redevelopment is just one of several projects that could help transform a three-block stretch of North Capitol.

Across the street, buyers of the ill-fated Di Rimini apartment project could present plans to salvage the building to city officials within the next few weeks, co-owner Mike Cunningham said. City officials halted Di Rimini three years ago because of numerous code violations.

Cunningham, a local restaurateur, and contractor Patrick Heitz purchased the vacant 31-unit complex at 733 N. Capitol Ave. in late March from Louisville-based Stock Yards Bank & Trust for $700,000. The bank took ownership of the building last year after foreclosing on a $2.8 million loan to the original developer.

rowland building 225pxAt 720 N. Capitol Ave., a second story is being added to a building (right) that will be occupied by Rowland Design Inc. The local design firm plans to move from its current digs in Lockerbie Square at 701 E. New York St. in October to the building on North Capitol, where it will take the entire 11,200 square feet.

Loftus Robinson Development purchased the building, which formerly housed an ADT call center, in March.

And farther north, at 922 N. Capitol Ave., the longtime owners of Capitol Clutch are retiring and selling their building through a sealed-bid process with a deadline of Sept. 10.

The ugly, one-story metal building has sparked a lot of curiosity, said Ray Simons, a Cassidy Turley broker with the listing.

“The reason they chose an auction is because over the years they’ve had multiple parties that have expressed their interest,” he said. “We all decided what better way to maximize the value of the property than to create a competitive environment for bidding.”

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