Developers of The Vue and Lenox Place residential complexes have already brought more than 100 apartment dwellers into downtown Bowling Green. Now they’re bringing a couple new businesses as well.
Michael Vitale, a partner in the New Millennium Real Estate group largely responsible for developing both projects, said Monday that The Vue has leased all 73 of its residential units along State Street and that the 41 units at Lenox Place on Chestnut Street are spoken for as well.
Retailers Shop Local Kentucky and Local Underground Access are now ready to set up shop on the ground floor of the three-story, $8.5 million The Vue project, joining the Hickory & Oak restaurant as commercial tenants.
It’s welcome news for proponents of downtown development.
“It’s a great sign for downtown,” said Doug Gorman, chairman of the Warren County Downtown Economic Development Authority. “It’s exciting to have retail businesses locating in downtown. When you have more density and more people living downtown, it brings in more retail.”
Both of The Vue’s new tenants said residential growth led them to locate downtown.
Shop Local Kentucky, which started in Georgetown six years ago, is opening a 1,200-square-foot shop facing State Street that specializes in Kentucky-themed T-shirts and other apparel.
Co-owner Rick Paynter said Shop Local Kentucky has a 15,000-square-foot production plant and warehouse in Lexington along with a store in Covington. He said the business has been growing by “50 to 60 percent” per year and looking to expand into other parts of the state.
“We knew we wanted a presence in western Kentucky,” Paynter said. “Bowling Green is a strong college town. It made sense that it would be the next place for us to lay down our footprint.”
Paynter said his store will offer Western Kentucky University-themed apparel and merchandise along with custom apparel.
Shop Local Kentucky also forms partnerships to help raise funds for nonprofit organizations, Payner said.
“We started with a giving heart,” he said. “Over the last five years we have donated around half a million dollars.”
The Vue’s other new retail tenant will cater more to local artists and musicians, according to Local Underground Access owner Matthew Wilson.
“We’ll have apparel, art supplies and functional art,” said Wilson, who expects the store to open in late October. “We’ll do community outreach and try to uplift the local art and music scene.”
Wilson said the 1,800-square-foot store will carry apparel and sneakers with designs by local artists.
Vitale, whose partners include Mary Vitale and Steve Sutton on The Vue and Rodney Rogers and Buster Stewart on Lenox Place, said it has been rewarding to see the projects come together and attract residents to downtown.
“We are very pleased with the manner in which The Vue and Lenox Place have leased up,” he said. “Sky Property Management has done an excellent job for us, and Neal Turner Realty did a great job locating our two new retail tenants. The proximity of the apartments and retail space to ... Hickory & Oak certainly helps. There clearly appears to be a healthy demand for downtown living and a need for more amenities and retail within walking distance.”
– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdaily news.com.