LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Swiss Hall, a former deputy sheriff’s lodge in the St. Joseph’s neighborhood of Louisville, could soon transform into new housing.
Developer Jeff Underhill wants to rezone the property to add 41 condos.
Underhill said they would keep Swiss Hall and renovate it to hold 18 condos, then build 23 more free-standing condos around the building.
“It should be a nice little village effect,” Underhill said.
Swiss Hall was built in the 1920s, Underhill said.
“Swiss immigrants settled that area," he said. “We feel they banded together to put in a community house there at one point. But it fits well to be residential.”
After a bar and restaurant’s attempt to rezone the location in 2018 failed, Underhill decided to buy the property to add more homes to the area.
The three-story Swiss Hall would house six condos on each floor. The developer plans to add lots of windows to the building.
“They will have common green space and common parking areas,” Underhill said.
Moseley Putney, the architect for the project, said they thought about demolishing the building and starting from scratch, but felt that keeping the original building would be better.
“It makes more sense to keep it," Putney said. "We get a nice mix of units. We’ll have condos in there that are nice flats and the top floor in there having lofts. So we end up saving it.”
He added: “I believe it adds an interesting character. It maintains a piece of the community that’s been there forever and people identify with it.”
Judy Rentschler remembers before it became the deputy sheriff's lodge. She moved to St. Joseph’s when Swiss Hall was still Swiss Hall.
“They had events back there. They had the fish fry on Friday nights and the bands and that kind of stuff,” Rentschler recalled. “It was a neighborhood gathering place on the weekends."
Rentschler was one of dozens of neighbors meeting with Underhill and Putney Tuesday night.
“We don’t want a restaurant, we don’t want a bar, we don’t want a honkeytonk," Rentschler said. "We want people that care about what’s right there.”
Underhill, Putney and the project’s attorney, Bill Bardenwerper, showed neighbors what they want the development to look like and answered questions about alleyways, traffic, lighting and fences.
Nicholas Johnson has lived in St. Joseph’s for about a year and a half. He believes what the developers are trying to do will be good for the area.
“It was really nice to see the visuals in a more thought out and developed concept,” Johnson said. “I do still feel like we're in the early stages of this development so it will be interesting to see how they respond to the needs and requests of the neighborhood."
Underhill said they will take the neighbors' feedback into consideration.
Before any changes happen to the property, Underhill said the zoning change has to be approved, which usually takes about six months.