OneWest buys retail strip along Broadway to further revitalization efforts

OneWest bought the strip retail center from owner Gus Goldsmith for $600,000. | Courtesy of Jefferson County PVA

The nonprofit OneWest has secured a small but critically located retail center abutting West Broadway.

OneWest paid $1 million for the property located at 1807 W. Broadway, its CEO Evon Smith told Insider Thursday.

“The West End community has been looking for quality retail that provides the goods and services they value,” Smith said. “We were also very interested that you had small businesses located in that center that needed an opportunity to grow and expand.”

The purchase is part of OneWest’s mission to attract and develop commercial businesses that benefit resident of west Louisville neighborhoods. Last year, it bought property on 18th street in the Russell neighborhood that will allow the longtime business Sweet Peaches Cafe to expand, as well as create a public gathering area called the Lilypad.

The Broadway center already has tenants, including a barbershop, tax professional, deli and pawn shop. Some of the tenants still have lease agreements in place that OneWest must honor; the length of the agreements vary, Smith said.

“For now, everything will remain as it has been, while we go through a community planning process,” she said. “We want to put the desires of the neighbors and the residents on the top of our priority list.”

During that time, OneWest also will speak with tenants about what improvements the buildings needs.

“We’re going to do that kind of deep dive on the needs of the businesses there and determining their goals there,” Smith said.

The property at 18th and Broadway is on an important corner, she noted. The YMCA is building a $28 million location on that corner, and Passport Health Plan received more than $24 million in tax credits for a new headquarters and health and wellness campus there. However, the Passport development is in jeopardy because of changes to Medicaid reimbursement rates.

OneWest President Evon Smith believes her experience as a banker and community activist will allow her to bring west Louisville residents and the business community together. | Courtesy of OneWest

“If Passport doesn’t happen, then I would say that is a huge loss for our community and the neighborhoods in the West End,” Smith said, noting that restaurants and other businesses had already reached out to OneWest about projects at that corner because of the investment by Passport.

OneWest bought the property from its longtime owner, Gus Goldsmith, a former payday lender who left Louisville a couple of years ago saying he was moving to Miami, a “much more forward-thinking” city.

Goldsmith posted on Facebook Wednesday that his family owned the property for more than 50 years. He noted a few memories from the place, including that his brother, Marty, was murdered during a robbery at Dan’s Pawn Shop in 1974. The case remains unsolved.

“I revitalized the corner subdividing the building into 10 retail storefronts for local entrepreneurs could have an opportunity. (sic) And now to the grand finale. Donating a portion of the sale to OneWest so that they can continue to revitalize and reinvorgate (sic) the West End,” he wrote.

Smith told Insider that the property appraised for nearly $3 million. Goldsmith donated a “significant amount of equity,” while major donors to OneWest are covering the $1 million sale cost, she said.

Gant Hill & Associates represented both sides in the sale.

OneWest has received support from local foundations and Louisville Metro Government. Mayor Greg Fischer will visit 1807 W. Broadway at 2 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 25, to celebrate the purchase, and the nonprofit will serve hot cocoa and food to residents at the site starting around 12:30 p.m. that day.

Smith also encouraged west Louisville residents to come out to Joshua Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, 426 S. 15th St., at 6 p.m. on March 6 to meet with representatives from the Pittsburgh-based Urban Design Associates and tell them how they’d like to see that section of the Broadway corridor developed.

Urban Design Associates will be in town through March 9 when its representatives will present their design plan. Smith has worked with the company before when she lived in North Carolina and was able to attract millions in investment based off of its design.

“Hopefully,” she said, “we will be able to mirror some of that in Louisville.”