November 08, 2016

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Steve Siler is a song writer, and founder and director of Music for the Soul, a non-profit music ministry. He is writing this column on behalf of Downtown Frankfort, Inc., a Kentucky Main Street program.


Local Landmark Beautifies Downtown

Historic Property has Vibrant Mix of Tenants.

The McClure Building at 306 W. Main St. is one of the most beautiful buildings in Frankfort. The first skyscraper in the city got its name from Richard McClure who had a store on the ground floor when the building first opened. I recently sat down with John Dunn, who is part of the family firm that manages the building, to find out more about what goes on in the stately structure and how they came to be involved.

“Dad opened a car wash up on East Main in the late seventies,” said John referring to his father Joe. The family had subsequently moved to Louisville and gotten into the property business.  “Dad was back in Frankfort visiting friends in 2008. He was driving down Main Street with a buddy and saw the building was in distress. We started to do some investigating and found out it was for sale.”

The Dunn’s bought the building and began what would ultimately be a three-year renovation process. But long before the renovation was complete, people came asking about available space in the building, Dunn says. “Two or three months in, people came knocking.”

The first couple of people that moved in were attorneys, which is what the Dunn’s were expecting. But “the second wave were artists. It has turned out to be a big, eclectic mix.”

That’s for sure. As one wanders the halls it is amazing to see the variety of businesses and entrepreneurs who occupy the space. Among those who call the McClure Building home are six artists, a photographer, a writer, and a hat designer.

But that’s just the beginning. Want to take a yoga class? Want to visit a massage therapist?

Need your hair done? A computer repaired?  Perhaps you’re looking for an acupuncturist.

You can find all of this in the McClure building.

There are also five counseling tenants in the building along with a realtor, a financial investment firm, and a few nonprofits including Downtown Frankfort Incorporated.

Clearly the McClure building is a hive of activity. “We like the diversity in the building,” says Dunn. “It gives it a unique feel.”

The other thing that gives it a unique feeling is the interior. The building has a marble entry, terrazzo hall floors, and maple hardwood floors in the offices. The Florentine glass in the doors and the windows lining the interior hallways immediately bring to mind the old detective movies of the 1940’s. Though some of that special glass was in the building when they bought it, much of it had to be replaced. “They’re still making it.  It’s designed to distribute light into the hallway,” Dunn told me.

Those fortunate enough to have offices on the higher floors of the building are rewarded with wonderful views of downtown and the surrounding hills. Dunn finds his own seventh floor office view invigorating. “If my imagination quits working I look out the window and it gets me going. It gives me energy!”  The autumn colors this time of year make the views particularly inspiring.

Interestingly, the McClure building is not the first to stand at the southwest corner of St. Clair and Main. The Mansion House, a hotel providing short-term homes for legislators and others in town for political business, stood there throughout much of the 1800’s.

But since 1906 the seven story neo-classic edifice has graced the location.

Currently there are only two offices available and one large 4,500 square foot space on the ground floor. “We’re as full as we have ever been,” says Dunn citing the new level of energy downtown. His goal?  “Getting it full…and keeping people happy,” Dunn adds with a smile.

The Dunn’s and the McClure Building – more evidence of just how special Frankfort is.


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