When the wave of urban renewal that swept through the nation in the 1960s came through Maysville, it brought a sleek new look to some of the downtown buildings, hiding historical storefronts from view.
Now, six decades later, one of those buildings is regaining its original look as the urban renewal facade of metal is removed.
The new owner of the Limestone Mall which once housed Merz Brothers and later Kline’s Department Store, is Lawrence Development and Rental Properties LLC in association with Scott Mellenkamp and Valerie Lynn Fields, according to a post on the business’s Facebook page. The group has started renovations on the property with plans to turn it into retail and office space.
“We are very excited for the tremendous opportunity to bring new life to this iconic building and to be a part of the revamp of the downtown area,” a post on the page indicated. Calls left with the company’s office late Tuesday were not returned.
Maysville City Manager Matt Wallingford said he is pleased to see the growth and redevelopment of the downtown area.
“I think the charm of our city is luring people in,” Wallingford said.
Darrell Fields, who operates Darrell’s Downtown Florist next door to the Limestone Mall is excited for the latest chapter in the building’s history.
For more than a year, Fields has been concerned with the condition of the neighboring building after it was allowed to deteriorate to the point that a collapse of the roof seemed imminent. Fields was concerned his building would also be damaged if that happened. He was also concerned with potential water damage.
“I was more concerned with it falling down, the shape it was in,” he said.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Fields said after watching the facade being peeled off the building Monday, revealing a stone front with two stories of arched windows.
This isn’t isn’t the first such undertaking for William Lawrence and Lawrence Development. The company was responsible for rehabbing the once abandoned May’s Lick School apartments last year.
Wallingford said there has been a flurry of interest in the downtown area recently and while some can be attributed to the historic nature of the area, he also credits the B-Line and the city’s recently designated entertainment district, the Landing at Limestone, for generating interest and attracting potential property buyers.
The B-Line is Northern Kentucky’s answer to the Bourbon Trail and will highlight the rise of craft distilleries that include the Old Pogue Distillery in Maysville.
Fields also expects the project and others to open the downtown to more business.
“More retail brings more people downtown,” he said.