ABOUT THE LUIGART MAKERS SPACES
LuigART Makers Spaces is the flagship program of the North Limestone Community Development Corporation (NoLi CDC), and is funded, in part, through a generous grant from ArtPlace America.
At its core, the LuigART Makers Spaces creates live/work spaces by rehabilitating historic workforce housing in the North Limestone neighborhood. In addition to creating new spaces, the program connects these residents with partner non-profit organizations to help with downpayment assistance, financial literacy training and low-risk mortgage financing. The LuigART Makers Spaces also will make it possible for people to create and sell their goods out of their homes, and will even allow residents to hire employees to work out of their house.
Most of the houses in the LuigART Makers Spaces were formerly vacant, condemned, or distressed properties that showed signs of a long history of disinvestment. From these properties, we are producing energy-efficient, affordable housing that remains true to the architectural history and character of the neighborhood. The NoLi CDC will also commit several houses to host individuals involved with partner organizations that benefit the community, as well as houses for temporary stay for visitors to the neighborhood.
BACKGROUND & HISTORY
The LuigART Makers Spaces are named for Joseph Luigart, who was an early entrepreneur in the North Limestone neighborhood. A native of Württemberg Germany, Luigart came to the US in 1855, and eventually settled in Lexington some 20 years later. He was a brewer by trade, working at breweries in Cincinnati Ohio and Logansport Indiana, eventually ending up at the Wolfe and Yelham brewery in Lexington.
He then purchased a hemp factory and large tract of land on North Limestone St. to start his own brewery – the Luigart and Harting Malt Mill. It would become a cornerstone of the light industrial zone that flourished on the northside of Lexington in the 19th and early 20th Centuries.
Around that development, many small workforce housing units began to pop up to house the area's workers, alongside larger houses for the factory owners and administrators. Over the years, much of the workforce housing has fallen into disrepair due to high levels of turnover, displacement, and absentee landlord ownership. It is these shotgun and cottage-style houses, and the historic Luigart and Harting factory, that frame the context for the LuigART Makers Spaces.
Joseph Luigart died on June 26, 1896 at the age of 69, but his legacy left a lasting impression on the area, and a spirit that the Makers Spaces aims to rekindle.
With the goal of designing and building affordable, flexible, durable, inspiring and energy efficient buildings that remain true to the architectural history of the neighborhood for around $70,000, NoLi CDC is undertaking to create more than just an affordable small house. We start by completely deconstructing the exterior and interior of the house and salvaging the materials for reuse. There are some instances where the existing envelope will be retained, but only for certain and specific uses.
The reason for this complete overhaul is that nearly all of the existing structures have met the end of their useful life, being constructed in a very spartan way from the few scrap and repurposed materials that appear to have been all that was available to the original builders. They were mostly vacant, and all show signs of a long history of disinvestment and neglect – fire damage, rot, subpar and shoddy plumbing and electrical work, cracking foundations, and more.
We do the design in-house, with the help of our architect-builder Kris Nonn, and in some specific cases bring in other architects to design houses. We self-perform work alongside paid contractors / sub-contractors and volunteer laborers, from partner organizations and community institutions. Among these, we are focusing on engaging and employing the workers that live in the immediate neighborhood.
NoLi CDC has a strident anti-displacement policy, and any current residents at the point of purchase join the LuigART Housing Initiative and Equity Programs. These residents are then given the option and the opportunity to own their house for a cheaper monthly payment than the rent they were paying their previous landlords. In this way we believe increasing owner-occupancy will also increase accountability and the number of invested stakeholders concerned about the well-being and improvement of the neighborhood.
PUD-2 "LUIGART MAKERS SPACES" ZONE
Prior to NoLi CDC's Planned Unit Development-2 (PUD-2), there were no Live/Work areas allowed in Lexington. Over the past year, NoLi CDC has drafted and gotten passed into law a Planned Unit Development (PUD) that allows a myriad of permitted uses, from Live/Work space, Artist Studios, Artisan Food and Beverage Production, Artisan Manufacturing, Digital Makerspaces, Urban Agriculture, Visiting Artist Housing, and a wide range of retail, business, and public open space uses. The PUD also incorporates PUD-specific design standards and metrics that serve to preserve and maintain the fine-grained dense nature of the North Limestone Corridor's historic development character.
The end goal of the Makers Spaces program is to apply and implement the PUD on properties on the target city block in North Lexington, bounded to the West by North Limestone, to the North by the RJ Corman railroad line, to the East by Maple Avenue, and to the South by East 7th Street., to create beautiful, historically-sensitive structures, spaces, streetscapes, and community that reflect and augment the character of the community.
YORK STREET DESIGN COMPETITION
In April of 2014, we launched the first installment of the York Street Design Competition, in partnership with LexArts and Lord Aeck Sargent, to bring national-level talent to the design of the Makers Spaces. The winner of this competition was Lexington design-build firm alt32. The design was then moved forward into construction by the people from that design competition team, who have now spun off into Nomi Design, to make this design a reality. This was the first of a series of design competitions intended to draw on the design community's wide array of talents and ideas.
The LuigART Makers Spaces are located on York and Eddie Streets in the 700 block of North Limestone Street. Situated in the heart of the North Limestone Corridor, the LuigART area is 1 mile from city center, 1 mile from New Circle Road, and 2.5 miles from I-64/I-75. The North Limestone Corridor is home to some of the best restaurants, bars, retail shopping, and businesses in the city of Lexington. If you would like more information on the businesses in the area, take a look at the North Limestone Vibrancy Map, published by the NoLi CDC.
You can find the map at any business in the corridor, at the NoLi CDC offices, or online at nolicdc.com.