Versailles couple buys Hub building

December 19, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

Downtown Danville's dreams were realized Friday when deeds were signed transferring ownership of the Hub-Gilcher complex on Main Street.

Third Street Development Corp. issued a press release Friday afternoon announcing that the Hub was sold to a Versailles couple, Audrey and Richard Haisfield, who paid $400,000 and plan to restore the old department store into retail and office space.

A Lexington attorney for the Haisfields told The Advocate-Messenger Tuesday they plan to include a restaurant.

Central Kentucky Ambulatory Surgery Center of Danville bought the former Gilcher hotel, but a deed had not been filed by Friday afternoon, so it is unclear how much was paid for that tract. The group of local doctors announced in April its plans to turn the old hotel into an out-patient surgery center.

Construction is expected to begin in the spring on both projects.

Third Street Development Corp. is a non-profit agency formed three years ago to develop the Hub-Gilcher complex. It used a $960,000 state grant it received through the city to buy the properties.


Third Street President Janet Hamner said the development, including a parking structure planned on the adjacent property, will involve $17 million in improvements.

Hamner touted the benefits expected for city and county governments, including payroll taxes from construction workers, property taxes from the new owners and payroll taxes from the people who will work in the new businesses.

The press release did not address how Third Street Development will use the proceeds from the sale, and Hamner could not be reached for further comment.

Dr. Tom Serey said in April that his group plans to spend $5 million on the Gilcher.

Third Street has given the Heart of Danville an easement to monitor construction and ensure the facades are kept intact.

$1.75 million grant for parking garage

Danville City Commission has been working with the doctors to redesign a parking garage that is planned behind the Hub-Gilcher complex. A $1.75 million federal grant was secured for that purpose. The city plans to solicit bids for the parking garage in February, City Commissioner Jamey Gay said Wednesday.

The doctors have agreed to lease 250 spaces in the garage and city commissioners agreed to work with the doctors to redesign the garage to fit their needs. Other local businesses that have agreed to lease spaces in the garage are: Farmers National Bank, Redwood Realty Investments, Five D's Communications, Symbiotix, CBS Companies, Carol's Bridal and Danville Family Dentistry.

The surgery center would handle the kinds of out-patient surgeries and procedures that now account for about 75 percent of those performed in Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center's operating rooms. The center would use as much as 18,000 square feet. The rest of the building's 32,000 square feet could be developed for doctor's offices, hospital offices or retail space, Serey has said.

The Hub-Gilcher opened in 1915 as the Pushin Department Store and later became known as The Hub. It closed in 1995. The buildings have been empty for nine years.

Haisfields bought another Main Street property

The Haisfields also bought the pink Economy Inn on Main Street, demolished it and have plans to build a shopping center and restaurant on the site.

The couple, who used to live in California, has started a similar project in downtown Versailles called Thoroughbred Square. They are also known for investing in high-end thoroughbreds. They were major investors in Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew and recently took part ownership of Cat Fighter, a 4-year-old filly that won this year's La Canada race.

Centre College President John Roush issued a statement commending the sale.

"We're excited about the increased momentum for downtown revitalization that comes with new ownership of the Hub, and the college hopes to make a positive and significant contribution to this effort."

Roush's statement did not specify how the college plans to contribute.

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