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Work Begins On Planned Year-Round Market In Louisville's Shelby Park Neighborhood

Logan Street Market will take over an abandoned candy and tobacco shop in Shelby Park.

A year-round, community marketplace may open this fall in Louisville’s Shelby Park neighborhood if construction on the old Axton Candy & Tobacco Company warehouse continues as planned.

A groundbreaking ceremony held Tuesday in the now-empty warehouse marked the first step in renovating the building to become the new Logan Street Market. The market, backed by local-business owners Mike and Medora Safai, will include food and beverage vendors, retail stalls, a children’s play area and a community stage.

“Every city has one of these,” market spokeswoman Sarah Height said during the ceremony. “They’re all around the world, and our goal is to become a community center where people can gather to learn and explore through food and drink.”

The ceremony involved what Height referred to as the “ceremonial smashing of the drywall” instead of a traditional groundbreaking. Mayor Greg Fischer and Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith joined Height and the Safais in front of the crowd to smash the drywall with hammers.

“When you think about the physical space that we’re in here and the neighborhood that we’re in as well, this is going to be a tremendous place of activity, of learning, sharing and growing our community,” Fischer said.

Princeton Hurst, a local businessman and area resident, said he was glad to see the Logan Street Market plans begin to take shape.

“This is something that people have wanted, and everybody’s been waiting for it,” Hurst said. “We don’t really have … anything that’s even close to it in the area, and it’s mostly residential, so people will definitely take advantage of it.”

ShawnNika Queen, a former Shelby Park resident who works in Smoketown, said she thinks the market will benefit local residents if the prices remain low enough for residents to afford.

“It’ll definitely bring healthier options for the community and raise it up from being a food desert because there are not many stores or options here to go grocery shopping like in your suburban communities,” Queen said. “I think just the whole freshness of food being offered to the community will be a good thing.”

Mike Safai said he hopes to keep the market affordable for both local residents and people on federal food assistance. The marketplace is also expected to create 150 new jobs.

“I am excited that this is happening in Shelby Park because this is a great neighborhood with a lot of potential,” Safai said.

Shelby Park Neighborhood Association Vice President Robert Bell said he is optimistic about the market, but he hopes its success doesn’t change the neighborhood and its residents.

“I am hopeful that what Mike and Medora Safai are doing in this space will be something that this community can benefit from in a holistic sort of way,” Bell said.

Fischer agrees. During the ceremony, he said he wants to prevent the gentrification that has been seen in other cities.

“We gotta make sure that when we’re developing in our cities that we do deep community engagement so that we make sure we’re responding to the people in our communities as well as other folks that want to come in and visit as well,” Fischer said.

Most of the planned renovations are to the warehouse’s interior, but the plans also include several exterior improvements like barn doors and a green wall.