High-rise planned for 'ragtag' gateway to the Highlands

High-rise planned for 'ragtag' gateway to the Highlands
Published: Dec. 6, 2014 at 5:01 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2015 at 5:16 AM EST
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Kevin Grangier (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Kevin Grangier (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Brian Conn (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Brian Conn (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A Louisville developer plans to turn an underutilized gateway to the Highlands neighborhood into a tower of housing, retail and restaurants.

Kevin Cogan, of the Jefferson Development Group, said he expected to invest millions of dollars into the project in a triangle-shaped piece of land bounded by Grinstead Drive, Lexington Road and Etley Avenue, next to Cave Hill Cemetery.

The plans include an overhaul of KT's Restaurant. The tallest portion of the development could be taller than 10 stories and feature condominiums along Lexington Road, where the restaurant now stands, Cogan said.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Village Anchor owner to take over KT's]

"Everyone's aware that it's been a ragtag, underutilized piece of ground," Cogan said. "And it is one of the gateways into our city."

Cogan said he had long dreamed of buying the land, which he described as ideal for development because of its location near Interstate 64, two heavily-traveled thoroughfares, and Cherokee Park.

The triangle's current occupants include a vacant building, auto sales business, car wash, dry cleaners, gas station, car repair shop, and KT's.

Kevin Grangier, who owns the Village Anchor restaurant in Anchorage, took ownership of KT's recently and said in an interview Friday that he would make dramatic changes at the aging restaurant.

The restaurant was one of Louisville's most popular in the 1980s and 90s, but has lost its status in recent years.

"I've made no bones about the fact that I'm changing it and I'm going to change it pretty severely," Grangier said. "Hopefully I can do that by keeping current clients happy and bringing in a slew of new clients."

Grangier said he would take the next few weeks to assess the restaurant's operations, and wouldn't say what style of eatery it would become.

KT's may occupy a new space in the development several years from now, Cogan said, adding, "KT's will be a part of that, no matter what we do."

The developers will begin by seeking city approval over the next year, followed by phased construction lasting two to four years, Cogan said.

Besides the high-rise condo tower, a seven- or eight-story tower of apartment units could sit along Grinstead Drive. Retail and a restaurant would occupy the ground floor, Cogan said.

It's not the first time someone's taken a chance on the area, which falls between the Highlands and Crescent Hill.

Game, the burger restaurant across Lexington Road from the triangle-shaped piece of land, moved in nearly two years ago. Its owners were looking for a highly-traveled road but off the beaten path from other eateries, manager Brian Conn said.

"I think any walking traffic, especially in this neighborhood here, would be good," Conn said. "As long as it's done tastefully, then I think any type of development in Louisville would be a good thing."

Grangier said he expected KT's and Game would be able to co-exist on the block.

"There's a need for a lot of things in that area," Grangier said. "There's not a lot there, but there are some great restaurants – Game is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. I think we can both help each other out when this grows."

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