The old Axton & Tobacco Company warehouse in Louisville’s Shelby Park could be transformed into a year-round indoor market this summer.
The Logan Street Market is having a preview party this weekend where invited guests — including potential customers, vendors and sponsors — can share ideas for the space.
If all goes as planned, the cold, colorless expansive warehouse on Logan Street between east Kentucky and St. Catherine streets will be transformed into a vibrant indoor food market by the summer. It will also include a microbrewery and event space.
For Mike Safai, backer of the project and owner of Safai Coffee, the space will be more than a place to buy food.
“I want when the kids wake up Saturday morning, their parents say, ‘Hey do you want to go to the zoo?’ And they say ‘No, I want to go to the market,’” Safai said.
He said the proposed project will also be an anchor for residents and development in nearby neighborhoods.
“The location, I believe, is perfect because you have Germantown behind us, you got the Highlands over there, the Paristown is going over there, Old Louisville going down there,” Safai said. “If you see, all the neighborhoods around here are building up. And this is the last piece in here.”
Safai hopes to start construction as soon as the project is approved by Louisville Metro Government. He anticipates construction will take three to four months. The project will be financed with Safai’s own money, as well as donations, sponsorships and loans.
Safai bought the space in 2016. The cost to construct the market is expected to be $500,000 -$700,000. The market is expected to bring 150 jobs to Shelby Park. And Safai also wants beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, to be able to shop in the market.
But for Safai, the benefits of the proposed market go beyond the boundaries of the neighborhood. He believes the market can help with Louisville’s future economic development.
“If you look at a lot of the big metropolitan cities from Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Cincinnati — they all have some kind of a market like this,” he said. “We’re one of the few that don’t have it.”